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This statement looks ambiguous: "People hate me for being jealous".

We got this in the dictionary

hate somebody/yourself for something/for doing something
I hated myself for feeling jealous.

So, here, "People hate me for being jealous." means 'they hate me because they are jealous' or 'they hate me because I am jealous'?

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  • 5
    People hate me because I am jealous.
    – Mia
    Apr 12, 2016 at 11:08
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    I disagree with the assertion that People hate me for being jealous is in any sense "ambiguous". It definitely and only means what @Mia says above, and no native speaker would ever say that if what they meant was People hate me because they are jealous [of me]. Apr 12, 2016 at 17:03
  • This is so difficult to tell just from a textual description. Could be aimed at any person within hearing range really. Apr 12, 2016 at 19:18

2 Answers 2

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In the phrase "they hate someone for something", for introduces the characteristic of the someone whom they hate (for having that characteristic).

In the phrase "they hate someone out of _____", out of introduces the motive that explains their hatred, e.g. "envy", "jealousy".

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  • +1. The OP's confusion may relate to the conjunction "for", which can indeed denote any sort of cause ("Even the dogs he associated with hated him, for they felt the difference between them", -George Thorndike Angell). But the preposition "for" is not used so freely.
    – ruakh
    Apr 12, 2016 at 15:09
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    In "they hate someone for something", it's not just that Person A hates the characteristic of Person B, it's that they hate Person B because Person B has that characteristic. To use the original example, they hate you, not just your jealousy.
    – Tim S.
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:17
  • @Tim S: tweaked the sentence to address your valid point.
    – TimR
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:52
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    @ruakh: I believe you're probably right about the cause of OP's confusion. But when there is a something after for (i.e. a nominal of some kind, not a clause as in your example of the dogs) then what follows will be a characteristic of the hated not of the hater. They hated her for having wealth, good looks, charm, athletic prowess, and ESP to boot.
    – TimR
    Apr 12, 2016 at 16:59
  • @TRomano: I agree, except that I'm not sure why you say "but": you seem to be agreeing with me (and with yourself, since my comment was, in turn, in agreement with your answer).
    – ruakh
    Apr 13, 2016 at 2:40
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It's not ambiguous.

People hate me for being jealous.

means that you are a jealous person. So much so that people dislike you because of it.

People hate me because they're jealous

means that other people are jealous of you and because of their jealousy, they dislike you. Since it's not what you asked, I'll keep my opinions about people who frequently use that second sentence to myself.

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