It is not a problem <for><to> me.

< Previous | Next >

stefano.rgc

Member
Spanish
I can not quite grasp the difference, if any. I am also assuming that if the order is changed to:

"For/To me, it is not a problem"

The meaning will not change.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "This situation is a problem for me" has a clear meaning. I have a problem, because of this situation. I am in trouble. I need to fix this or it will harm me.

    "To me" doesn't mean that. It means "to my perception". Another way to say it is "I see this as a problem (for somebody).

    For example, the bank shows an error. The are supposed to have one amount, but they have a different amount. I can see this is a problem. To me, it is a problem. It is problem, to me. But I don't work for the bank. I am not responsible. So it is not a problem for me. It does not cause me problems. The bank manager has a problem. This is a problem for him. He could be arrested because of this.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I can not quite grasp the difference, if any.
    The difference is very technical "to" and "for" both express the dative, which appears as an indirect object or a complement.

    An alternative view is that [to/for + substantive] creates a prepositional modifier (modifying 'problem'.)

    As far as meaning is concerned, I think you can see the difference between

    I gave it to you
    I bought it for you.

    To expresses the idea of movement of "it" towards 'you'.
    For expresses advantage or disadvantage. (For can often be understood as "for one's purposes")

    The same difference exists in
    "For/To me, it is not a problem"

    For me = for my purposes, there is no advantage or disadvantage, it is not a problem
    To me = the problem will not pass to/travel to/come to me - it is not a problem.

    (The above blue text is the closest I can get to describing the effect of prepositions - prepositions are notoriously difficult to explain!)

    (Crossposted - I have now read dojibear's comment. I think that is very helpful.)
     

    PanPan01

    Senior Member
    French
    There's something I really can't understand. :confused:
    1. That's not a problem to me
    2. That's not a problem for me
    Sentence #1 = I don't view that as a problem. (It doesn't present a problem.)
    Sentence #2 could have two possible meanings, in my opinion. One: It could have the same meaning as the first sentence. A second possible meaning: It's a problem, but it's not one that I can solve; you'll have to ask someone else about it.
    Parla unequivocally said that, in her opinion, sentence 2 could have the same meaning as sentence 1, i.e I don't view that as a problem.
    Why this doesn't work any longer when inverting the sentence?

    I thought that kind of situation was pretty common.
    A: What's the idea of buying a 4x4 when you live in a city!
    B: What's wrong with that?
    A: Have you heard about global warming?
    B: For me, it's not a (major) problem. (= I don't view global warming as a problem)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    B: For me, it's not a (major) problem. (= I don't view global warming as a problem)
    I would understand this as "In my [individual] case/circumstances, this does not apply" and it is hard to see how this could be a valid comment.
     

    PanPan01

    Senior Member
    French
    I would understand this as "In my [individual] case/circumstances, this does not apply" and it is hard to see how this could be a valid comment.
    Thank you Paul. I may not have provided you with the best example. As a result, I've been browsing through linguee wondering if I could find something better.

    "When I started working on the issue of youth gangs, my age criteria was below 18, so young people. But when I looked at the Criminal Code book, I was surprised that there is no definition of a “gang”. Being in a gang is not a crime. It actually comes under the umbrella of a criminal organization, and that's surprising.
    When we bring them under that umbrella, we tend to equate them with the Hells Angels or bikers or whomever. That's a problem for me, because many of them are not organized and they're not there to be in a profitable business."
    Evidence - JUST (40-3) - No. 7 - House of Commons of Canada


    What's your take on this? It's plainly in total contradiction with what's been said in the thread. I'm sure you're right, though. That's why I'm a bit puzzled...
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    That's a problem for me, -> in my case/circumstances, etc., (but obviously not in everyone's case)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Bob: There's a huge new tax, for anyone with more than a million dollars!
    Sam: That's not a problem for me. I don't have that much money.

    To Sam, the new law does not fit the definition of "a problem for Sam", because it does not cause any hardship to Sam.

    Eddie: Scientists agree that the earth is gradually warming.
    Larry: To me, that's not a problem. Scientists don't agree there is a crisis coming.

    To Larry, the warming does not fit the definition of "a problem for anyone". The phrase "to me" means "in my mind".
     
    Last edited:

    PanPan01

    Senior Member
    French
    Hello Dojibear and thank you for your reply.
    Yes, of course, I agree with the situations above and I totally understand them.
    However, in the given situation (cf.#7), the individual expresses her own opinion. She examines the behavior of young people involved in gang activities. It's her job. When she said "that's a problem for me", I feel she speaks her mind, and certainly, others may disagree. It doesn't seem to me that she is personally in trouble or that it causes any hardship to her, but rather that she...
    see(s) this as a problem (for somebody)
    What I meant is that, in this situation, "for me" is very similar to what you explained "to me" was, and this is what troubles me.
    I hope I've made myself clear. :(
     
    Last edited:

    Forero

    Senior Member
    The grammar of the two phrases is different:

    The problem for me is ....:tick:
    The problem to me is ....
    :cross:

    In other words, "for me" can particularize the problem but "to me" cannot.

    A "problem for me" is my problem. It affects me, in some way. It could be a problem that hurts me or just one that increases my responsibility or my workload.

    "To me" applies to the whole clause:

    To me, the problem is ....:tick:
    The problem, to me, is ....:tick:
    The problem is ..., to me.:tick:

    "To me" is about my opinion, though what is a problem to me can also be a problem for me.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    What's your take on this? It's plainly in total contradiction with what's been said in the thread.
    I don't agree. The quote in #7 is about a committee deciding how to classify gangs within a set of rules. The committee can change the rules.

    The quote says that the committee equating gangs with the Hells Angels is a problem for the comittee. In this case "for" is correct, and this matches everything that has been said in this thread.

    You can argue that the speaker should have said for us instead of for me, but the speaker is part of the committee, and talks that way.
     

    PanPan01

    Senior Member
    French
    The quote says that the committee equating gangs with the Hells Angels is a problem for the comittee.
    Indeed, I never thought of it that way. You're right, using for me instead of for us has really confused me. Besides, the quote is from the House of Commons of Canada, so it has naturally been translated into French and they clearly made a mistake since they interpreted this as "in her opinion/mind".
    "To me" is about my opinion, though what is a problem to me can also be a problem for me.
    As a consequence, I assume you and Dojibear both disagree with Parla in #5 when she says that it is a problem for me and it is a problem to me can sometimes mean the same.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I agree with Parla. People sometimes says "for me" and mean the same as "to me". But usually "to" and "for" have different meanings.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    ... Besides, the quote is from the House of Commons of Canada, so it has naturally been translated into French and they clearly made a mistake since they interpreted this as "in her opinion/mind".
    I agree.

    I take it to mean that the problem occurs in writing and understanding law, so it is a law-making problem, something the committee need to take into account.

    It does not do harm to the author, but it does create work or complicate the author's (and the committee's) job.

    It is not meant to be taken as mere personal opinion.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top