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I hope this question is not a duplicate because I reviewed other posts.
I just want to make sure that I have the right meaning in these specific examples. If I was watching a movie portraying a technologically advanced device and I commented:

"This is not impressive for me."

This means I am comparing what I am watching to my knowledge, intellectual ability, etc, and I have come to the conclusion that is isn't that impressive. However, to someone of below my intellectual level, might say this is impressive for him.

However, if I commented:

"This is impressive to me"

This doesn't mean I am comparing or judging the work went behind that device, I am just saying this is impressive according to how it is being portrayed or it sounds/looks impressive.

Is that true?

  • Would you use the same prepositions if the forms were reversed? Move the 'not' from the first to the second sentence. – Victor Bazarov Aug 25 '15 at 21:31
  • "This is not impressive to me" meaning it doesn't sound impressive. "This is impressive for me" meaning according to my knowledge, this is deemed impressive – Ghaith Alrestom Aug 25 '15 at 22:01
  • Are you translating it literally to or from some other language more familiar to you? – Victor Bazarov Aug 25 '15 at 22:03
  • I heard the line "It is impressive, for theoretical work." in Big Bang theory. And I thought that it meant it is only impressive for theoretical work or that by theoretical work standards, it is impressive. And I thought that if I said "it is impressive for me" will mean the same thing. That according to my thinking, knowledge, etc, it is impressive. – Ghaith Alrestom Aug 25 '15 at 22:11
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    It really works best with no prepositional phrase. "This is impressive." <-- period --the end. Because "impressions" are always personal, saying " to me" or "for me" adds no meaning. You might say "It was impressive to him (although that is simpler stated as "It impressed him.") – Brian Hitchcock Aug 26 '15 at 9:16
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This is impressive to me.

is the usual way to say what I think you mean (more specific context would be helpful).
See to:

  1. preposition
    You use to to indicate who or what an action or a feeling is directed towards.

Meaning as you see "this", or the concept of "this" comes to you, it is (not) impressive.

As for:

This is not impressive for me.

The only related definition I could find was for:

  1. preposition
    If you feel a particular emotion for someone, you feel it on their behalf.

Meaning my feeling is that it is (not) impressive. But in your example doesn't make a lot of literal sense. In the same sense, you could say something like:

I went out with her a few times, but she was not a good match for me.

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English likes verbs. Impressive is an adjective, yes.

An impressive building, an impressive resume.

but: the verb, impress here is better to express the OP's idea.

[X: subject] does not impress me.

The technology does not impress me.

Generally speaking, if some thing is not impressive, we have no reason to add either to me or for me. We would express this as: I don't think x is impressive.

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This is not impressive for me (or X).

This typically means the following:

  • You did or saw something.
  • Someone else said it was impressive.
  • You know you (or X) could have done better, or have seen better, so you are saying they are wrong and it's really not impressive.

In the case of where "this" is something you've seen rather than done yourself, this can seem rude or snobbish.

This is impressive to me.

You consider this impressive. "To me" acknowledges that others might think differently.

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