Allow vs. Allow for


Senior Member
Korean, South Korea.
With the U.S. Congress considering legislation on how to try and question foreign terrorist suspects, Bush is pushing a proposal to allow for what he calls "an alternative set of procedures" for CIA interrogations.

Hello. Above is a detached part of web news article.

I notice that the verb "Allow" basically stands for "to permit" and the phrasal verb, according to definition in my dictionary, "Allow for" on the other hand indicates "to consider the possible facts, problems, costs etc involved in something when making a plan, calculation, or judgment".

Now, even after taken into account of those actual meanings of both, I don't really make out what makes the latter one more suitable in this case.

Such subtle nuances exisiting in foreign language.

I'd like to listen to your thoughts and opinions on this.

  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    That's a very good question, Shiness.

    Let's look at the essential part of the quote...

    a proposal to allow for an alternative set of procedures

    Had it been "to allow an alternative set...." it would have meant to permit a known, specific set of procedures, which would have been made legal.

    Allowing for such an alternative set is much more open-ended and vague. The set of procedures are not specified, nor is their automatic incorporation into the law. The proposal will, if accepted, make possible some set of procedures, which are not spelled out in the quoted sentence.


    Senior Member
    Hello Shiness,
    We do ask that each thread be focused on a single topic only.
    This helps people using the dictionaries do additional searches for words and phrases they are looking for. Therefore, I ask that you and I and others discuss your second question in a new thread.

    Thanks for your understanding,