Get a drink to John vs Get a drink for John.

younghon

Senior Member
Korean - Korea
Q: I know #1 is correct/natural but I wonder why #2 is not acceptable especially in relation with the preposition 'to'. I am a little confused.

1. Get a drink for John.

2. Get a drink to John.
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Some phrases are natural and idiomatic in certain context and others aren't. That's just how the language has evolved.

    "Get a drink to John" is unlikely to be used to refer in a social context. But it could possibly be used in a situation where John really needs a drink. The speaker might possibly say "Get a drink to him" to mean "Make sure a drink reaches him". It isn't very likely however. In a social setting, "for" is the usual preposition.
     

    younghon

    Senior Member
    Korean - Korea
    Q: According to your answers, I think below sentences have the same principles as your example sentences and explanations. Am I right?

    Sing an old song for us. Sing an old song to us.

    Book a ticket for/to her.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    According to your answers, I think below sentences have the same principles as your example sentences and explanations. Am I right?
    I'm afraid not. What I said applies to that sentence. There isn't really a rule.
    Sing an old song for us.
    This is fine.
    Sing an old song to us.
    This doesn't sound as likely as the one with "for" but "sing to us" is sometimes used. You might sing to a baby for instance to make it sleep. "Sing to" is used to mean the song is directed at someone for some reason.
    Book a ticket for/to her.
    Only "for" works here.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Q: According to your answers, I think below sentences have the same principles as your example sentences and explanations. Am I right?

    Sing an old song for us. Sing an old song to us.
    These do not mean the same. Suppose I ask a singer to sing a song that my wife and I like. If she sings it, she is singing it for us, but she is singing it to the entire audience. (I think I used the same example in another thread here recently, but I'm not sure who I replied to there.)

    Book a ticket for/to her.
    "Book a ticket for her" is how I would ask a travel agent to arrange flights for my wife. "Book a ticket to her" has no meaning to me; it is not something one would say in English.
     
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