1

I just saw a sentence which made me think, consult my dictionary, and finally form a question that I can't find an answer to.

What's the difference between these two sentences:

I'll post those letters for you.

I'll post those letters to you.

4
  • 1
    If you post some letters for someone, you're saving them the trouble of posting those letters themselves (letters which they probably wrote themselves; certainly, letters which they are responsible for posting). If you post letters to someone, you hope they will eventually be delivered to that person. Mar 13 '16 at 17:18
  • @FumbleFingers Technically, "for you" can mean the same as "to you"...
    – Catija
    Mar 13 '16 at 17:20
  • 1
    @Catija: I'm not sure what you mean by "technically" there. If you do something for someone, it's practically always either on their behalf or for their benefit. In principle I suppose a rather irritating customer service rep might say I've got some letters here that I think you should read. I'll post them for you (so you can receive them and have the benefit of reading them) But it's a somewhat contrived context (and a tiresome way of speaking, imho). Mar 13 '16 at 18:02
  • The local dialect where I live is actually potentially confusing in this regard because when someone asks for a favour they're more likely to say "Kin ye dae this tae ma?" Mar 13 '16 at 20:35
4

They can mean significantly different things:

I'll post those letters for you.

This can be slightly ambiguous... while it can mean the same as "to you", it can also mean that you are volunteering to take letters to the post office for someone. You are doing them a favor. You don't know who the letters are directed to but you're going to mail them for the person you're speaking to.

I would argue that this second meaning is more often the implied meaning.

I'll post those letters to you.

This means that you have some letters that are addressed to the person you are speaking with that they are supposed to receive but you have not yet mailed/posted them.

So, if your intent is to say you're sending the letters on their behalf, I recommend using "for" and if you're sending the letters that are directed to them, I recommend using "to".

1

If somebody has written some letters, and you are planning to go out, you might offer to put the letters into the post for them:

I'll post those letters for you

If you want to send several letters to somebody, you would say to them:

I'll post those letters to you

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .