"Time to" vs. "time for"

Excluding fixed expression like from time to time, are both forms acceptable, and do they have the same meaning?

It's time to buy a new TV. or It's time for buying a new TV.

It's time to make a coffee break,It's time for making a coffee break

It's time to a coffee break,It's time for a coffee break

Are all pairs right and equivalent?


You use to before a verb and for before a noun.

"It's time to acquire a new TV" = "It's time for the acquisition of a new TV". Alternatively, you can use "It's time we acquired a new TV"

  • I did a comment along these lines and then deleted it because i didn't think "buying a new TV" was a noun. Is it? Apr 12 '16 at 14:32
  • Nah, that's why I used acquire and acquisition. you can say "This new TV was a good buy" though
    – MorganFR
    Apr 12 '16 at 14:32
  • Oh yeah, i just realised that it's not correct to say "It's time for buying a new tv". Doh. Apr 12 '16 at 14:35
  • "Buying a new TV" is a noun. It is the object of the preposition "for." This is why it can be replaced by a pronoun. "It's time for buying a new TV" can be said "It's time for it." Not that I would say it like this, but it's not wrong.
    – surlawda
    Apr 12 '16 at 14:35
  • If this is indeed correct, then I have never seen it used like that, and it sounds really strange, I would advise against using it.
    – MorganFR
    Apr 12 '16 at 14:38

With your first example you correctly establish that

  • for the 'time to' variant you use the 'to ..' form (infinitive)
  • and for the 'time for' variant you should use the '..-ing' form (gerund).

Both these forms are correct and have roughly the same meaning. I refer you to this article about infinitives versus gerund for a description of the similarities and subtle differences between them. Main point I take is this:

"Both gerunds and infinitives can be used as the subject or the complement of a sentence. However, as subjects or complements, gerunds usually sound more like normal, spoken English, whereas infinitives sound more abstract."

Your second example is wrong, but that's more because you don't 'make a coffee break', you 'take' one or 'have' one. So in your third example the correct first form would be 'It's time to take a coffee break'.

  • Too bad there is no mention of a "for +ing" example in your source, that might have settled the discussion :D
    – MorganFR
    Apr 12 '16 at 14:52

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