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I've just caught myself out twice by writing something down as being interesting for me! This is a typical Italian mother-tongue error, but Italian is not my first language. It used to be English, but now I'm no longer sure.

And yet when I say the above phrase it sounds OK. I feel comfortable saying it, so am I right to use the preposition for in this way? If as a linguist said: "Grammar is about how people really speak, not about how they ought to speak."

Here is a link which nicely sums up the difference between interesting to me and interesting for me.

Something you do is interesting for you.

Something people do or say is interesting to you.

  • The two rules you state strike me as an oversimplification. The examples posed in your source are all correct, but something about the rules doesn't sit right with me. I can't put my finger on it, so I'll leave it for someone else to answer. In the meantime, can you give us examples of the sentences you've recently written with interesting for me? They may or may not be correct, but without seeing them we can't tell! – WendiKidd Jun 9 '13 at 16:01
  • With sheepish guilt: "However, my second question, poorly researched I admit, was also interesting for me." Should I add this in the question? – Mari-Lou A Jun 9 '13 at 16:07
  • Found the second one:"At this point thanks to the comments attached, the original question has now become more interesting for me." – Mari-Lou A Jun 9 '13 at 16:24
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    Groan another error I should have said: Sheepish grin! Grazie, Carlo R! – Mari-Lou A Jun 9 '13 at 16:51
  • There are several places where more than one preposition can be used without a significant meaning shift. Another example is by accident / on accident. I grew up hearing only the former, but now I hear the latter quite often. – J.R. Jun 10 '13 at 10:06
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I see no reason why you should make a point of avoiding interesting for. It's not so common as interesting to, but it's been growing steadily over the past century, from about 1:30 in 1914 to about 1:6 in 2008 (Google Ngrams):

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However, there is a possible ambiguity with interesting for. The for participates in two very different constructions. One is the ordinary preposition phrase which indicates who is interested; this is how your examples use it:

This point of view would be interesting for methat is, I would be interested in this point of view.

The other construction is the FOR ... TO non-finite clause acting as the complement of interesting. (And in fact, historically the first construction appears to have arisen out of this one.)

This point of view would be interesting for me to hear. ... This may be parsed two ways:

Hearing this point of view would interest me.
My hearing this point of view would interest somebody.

In conversation the ambiguity is ordinarily trivial, since we take it for granted that the interested person and the hearer are the same. But what about this?

This point of view would be interesting for President Obama to hear.

Does that mean that hearing this point of view would interest the President, or that I would find it interesting if he heard it?

So you don't need to avoid using interesting for, but you do need to be careful how you use it.

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  • I would never have seen the possible ambiguity of the last sentence. It is very subtle and I have to think hard before I could interpret the meaning as = In my opinion it would be interesting for President Obama to hear this point of view. Hence if I changed "for" with "to" the ambiguity would be avoided, i.e. "This P.O.V would be interesting to President Obama to hear." Would it be correct to say that the particle "to" acts as a transferring agent, moving P.O.V towards the President as it were? – Mari-Lou A Jun 9 '13 at 22:23
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    @Mari-LouA That's a very interesting way of putting it. (Sorry, I said that without thinking!) I'd say rather that it moves the interest toward the President, and away from the writer of the sentence. Me, I wouldn't futz around with prepositions, which are necessary but overworked. I'd say "It would interest President Obama to hear this point of view" (if indeed that is what I meant, and not "It would interest me if President Obama heard this point of view"). – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 9 '13 at 22:38
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As I just answered here, I'd like to have it here as well so others who land on this question may find it useful.

Something important to you might be in terms of how it looks/appears. It's merely a direction at you.

For instance...

Your colleagues are good to you

to here serves merely as a direction toward you. They just appear good. But there are many dangerous people around...so you say...

Your colleagues are good to you but they are not good for you.

The topic is interesting to you, it's an assumption or an appearance that the topic might be interesting to you. On the other hand, if you say the topic is interesting for me, it talks about the real thing, not how it appears (The pill is not good to you (because of its taste), but you run a fever, so it's good for you. No matter how it appears/tastes).

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