I ran into this sentence,

With your average win rate, The game will consistently lose money for you.

I wonder why 'lose money for you' is used here instead of 'lose your money'.

  • 3
    This needs more context. The intent seems to be that the game will lose money without your involvement or concern.
    – user3169
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:02
  • @user3169 yeah i think you get the point. Like you assumption, the game refers to a game that makes user lose money, whatever he tries to do.
    – GT Kim
    Commented Feb 19, 2016 at 22:23
  • This is an interesting grammatical construct, and I can understand why this would be tricky for a learner. The sentence structure works because it says, X will do Y for you, and Y is something that a person wouldn't want done. It reminds me of this cartoon. I wish I could come up with a better way to explain it. Great question.
    – J.R.
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 0:55
  • I added additional context for helping understanding.
    – GT Kim
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 3:31

3 Answers 3


The game will

lose money for you

means that by playing the game, by way of the game you lose your money. Only by you playing the game do you lose money. No play, no loss.

In other words, only you can

lose your (own) money

There are two basic ways to do this:

by yourself

you misplace the money yourself and can't find it
you buy something overpriced

you lose your money

with some help

something does something which causes you to lose money
something loses money for you

another way to express this is

something will lose you money
something will cause your amount of money to decrease

Betting against the odds will lose you money most of the time.

  • Thank you. I can now get it . I think the meaning was explained from user3169 through gandalf, and finally you nailed it.
    – GT Kim
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 3:11
  • Not surprisingly it took all of us, you posed an interesting and tough question!
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 3:17
  • 1
    Oh, Thank you J.R., too for bringing attentions to dead question. :)
    – GT Kim
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 3:25

When we use the verb win, for example, it often takes an Indirect Object and a Direct Object:

  • It will win [you] [money].

Here, the Indirect Object, you, represents the person who is going to get the Direct Object, in this case the money. If we wish to put the Direct Object money directly after the verb, then we cannot use an Indirect Object, but we can show who is going to get the money using a preposition phrase headed by for:

  • It will win [money] [for you].

We see this kind of pattern with other verbs that take Indirect Objects:

  • I'll give [you] [the book].
  • I'll give [the book] [to you].

The verb lose can also follow this pattern:

  • It will lose [you] [money].
  • It will lose [money] [for you].

We often use the verb lose in this way when we expect something to win us money, but it does the opposite job. So when the speaker said It will lose money for you they were probably implying something like:

  • It will lose money for you instead of winning money for you.

In these lose sentences, the person who should be receiving and benefiting from the money is no longer actually getting anything. However, the for-preposition phrase still represents someone who should be getting something. They are still presented as a would-be beneficiary (someone who gets something good or beneficial).

If the speaker had said:

  • It will lose your money.

This sentence would not give us the idea that you should be winning money. It also does not represent 'you' as a would-be beneficiary. In this sentence, there is just one Object of the verb, your money. The Original sentence talks about the money, and about you too.

  • 2
    Yeah, Great answer. I think we should be able to pick multiple answers. :)
    – GT Kim
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 19:35

We have a saying in English: “to be a money-losing proposition”. No matter what you do, you will consistently lose your money in the venture. That seems to be the case here. I assume it’s Roulette, or some other game with the odds stacked against you.

Original Examples 1) lose your money 2) lose money for you

Normally, if you lose money, or someone else loses your money (such as a stockbroker- not that I think there is much difference from Roulette), it is unintentional, and not a causative action.


“...and not a bad little chap. I feel responsible for him. I wish to heavens you had not lost him”.

However, “to lose" has some 11 definitions in both OALD and Merriam Webster on-line. The most applicable in this case would probably be #6 in MW: “To cause the loss of".

In addition, there is implied a favor being done, i.e. “to do something for someone”.


"Oh for God's sake, if you can't manage, let me do it for you".

So, if you put the 2 ideas together, you could understand that the difference between the two sentences is that in #1, the game causes the loss of the money, but in #2 it loses your money and does you a self-serving favor while it doing it.


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