preposition 'to' vs 'for'

Hello there :smiley:

Is there a difference in meaning of the following sentences(if correct)

  1. How much is a train ticket for Waterloo station?
  2. How much is a train ticket to Waterloo station?
  3. Is this the express train for London?
  4. Is this the express train to London?

Best regards,

mdenglish

In American usage, we’d use “to” to indicate the destination in travel.

We’d use “for” for tickets for admission. How much are tickets for Hershey Park? How much are tickets for Spamalot?

It’s $30 for my train ticket to New York and $80 for my ticket for the show.

Barb’s explanation is right, but in real life people don’t follow it 100 percent. You can actually say that you bought a ticket to London or a ticket for London, but “to” is better.

There are some expressions in which both “to” and “for” are correct in regard to destination:

“We’re headed to London.”
“We’re headed for London.”

Those two sentences mean exactly the same thing.

So the distinction isn’t rigid, but if you follow Barb’s rule you can at least be sure you’ll never be wrong.

Isn’t “a ticket for London” a short form for “a ticket for the trip/train to London” and “a ticket to London” a short form for “a ticket from here to London”? If so, each form would have a different underlying thought behind it, though the action would be the same in each case, i.e. “travel to London”

It’s possible that shortening or ellipsis are occuring:

  1. How much is a train ticket for <the journey/trip/train to> Waterloo station?
    1a. How much is a train ticket for <arrival at/getting to/travel to> Waterloo station?
  2. How much is a train ticket to Waterloo station?
  3. Is this the express train for <the journey/trip/train to> London?
    3a. Is this the express train for <arrival at/getting to/travel to> London?
  4. Is this the express train to London?

I would agree with M: “to London”, to me, implies direction of travel, while “for London” implies purpose.

MrP

Exactly.

It’s the same here, IMO.

heading to London
heading for London

Though, which answer would you expect to get here?

[i]A: Which way are you heading?

B. To/wards London/for London.[/i]

And here: It says this train is for (= going to stop at) Birmingham and Coventry only

dictionary.cambridge.org/define. … &dict=CALD

So I can add another possibility to my examples from above:

  1. How much is a train ticket for/for the train that is going to stop at Waterloo station?
  2. Is this the express train for/that is going to stop at* London?
  • “At” would be an acceptable preposition there.