Request of or For? When to Use Each (With Examples)

Marcus Froland

English can be tricky. There are so many rules that sometimes even native speakers get puzzled. And let’s not even talk about those who are learning it as a second language. Today, though, we’re going to tackle one of those sneaky little issues that trip people up: the difference between ‘request of’ and ‘request for’.

It sounds simple, right? But the devil is in the details, or in this case, the prepositions. These two phrases might seem interchangeable at first glance, but they’re not. The correct choice can change the meaning of your sentence entirely. So, how do you know which one to use and when? Well, that’s what we’re here to find out.

Choosing between “request of” and “request for” can be tricky, but here’s a simple guide. Use “request of” when asking someone to do something. It implies asking a person to take an action. For example, “She made a request of him to sing.” On the other hand, use “request for” when you’re asking for something specific, like an item or a service. It implies you want something given to you. For instance, “He filed a request for information.” To sum up: if you’re asking someone to do something, it’s “request of.” If you’re asking for something specific, it’s “request for.”

Understanding the Basics: “Request of” vs “Request for”

In mastering English grammar, understanding the nuances of preposition usage is crucial, particularly when it comes to phrases like “request of” and “request for.” These prepositions may appear interchangeable in certain contexts, but they do carry different connotations. To grasp the distinction between the two, it’s essential to examine their usage with subjects and objects as well as the differences in formality.

“Request of” is often used when implying a formal tone or directive towards an individual. On the other hand, “request for” typically specifies the object or subject of the request. These differences become clearer when either preposition is followed directly by a subject or an object, elucidating which one is more suitable in a given context.

Consider the following examples for a better understanding:

  • Request of explanation: Mr. Smith required an explanation from his employee.
  • Request for clarification: Jane asked her teacher for clarification on the assignment.

Here, “request of explanation” positions Mr. Smith as the authority figure seeking information from his employee. Conversely, “request for clarification” highlights that Jane is looking for further information or guidance from her teacher.

“Use ‘request of’ to convey formality and directiveness, while ‘request for’ works best when specifying the object or subject of the request.”

Context “Request of” “Request for”
Formality Formal Less formal; can also be formal
Focus Individual being directed Object or subject of the request
Examples “She made a request of him to take out the trash.” “He submitted a request for a refund.”

Maintaining clarity in speech and writing is vital, especially in professional settings where precise communication is necessary. Recognizing the appropriate preposition to use—whether “request of” or “request for”—enhances the accuracy of your message and allows the receiver to understand your intent effectively.

Exploring “Request of”: Formal Requests and Directives

When it comes to formal request expression and directive speech acts, “request of” generally carries more weight and formality than its counterpart, “request for.” This distinction is particularly evident when an individual is tasked with performing an action or when we need to acknowledge the ownership or origin of a request within directive prepositions. In this section, we will delve into the usage of “request of” and analyze its role as a preposition for expressing formal directives.

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Using “Request of” in Sentences

Consider the following examples where “request of” is used:

  1. I made a request of my supervisor to allow me to work from home.
  2. The Dean requested the professor’s presence at the meeting.
  3. At the request of the CEO, the Marketing Director presented their new strategy.

In each case, the phrase “request of” lends a sense of authority and formality to the request being made. This usage further emphasizes the responsibility and expectations associated with the requested action. Additionally, by combining “request of” with a verb such as “make” or “ask,” you can create compelling and clear request statements that capture the importance of the directive issued.

“At the Request of”: Phrasing Ownership and Directives

The phrase “at the request of” is particularly useful for indicating that someone other than the speaker has made the request.

Example: The project was initiated at the request of the Board of Directors.

In this example, the “at the request of” phrasing helps highlight the fact that the Board of Directors originated the request, emphasizing their authority and the legitimacy of the project. Furthermore, it demonstrates the importance of using ownership phrasing in requests and directive prepositions for establishing the context of an action while also underlining the hierarchical relationship between the parties involved.

As we move forward, understanding the nuances of “request of” and its implications in expressing formal requests and directives in English becomes increasingly important. Be mindful of the contexts in which you use this phrasing, and you will continue to present your requests with precision and clarity.

The Versatility of “Request for”: Specifying the Subject or Object

Given its flexible nature, “request for” is a popular preposition choice in various contexts. This preposition helps to clearly define either the subject or object of a request, making it easy to understand the nature of said request. The versatility of “request for” lies in its ability to function alongside the verb “make” in request-oriented expressions and to provide clarity in regards to the English language’s complex grammar rules.

Here are a few examples of how “request for” can be utilized to specify the subject or object in a request:

  • Request for a refund: This sentence is explicitly asking for a refund, with the noun (refund) acting as the object of the request.
  • Request for assistance: In this case, the request is directed towards someone who can provide help, specifying the subject (assistance) being requested.

Often, “request for” can be used interchangeably with “request of”, especially when the context is clear and the preposition isn’t directly followed by either the subject or the object. For instance, “a request for a friend” and “a request of a friend” can both mean asking something from a friend. However, the meaning of each sentence alters if the preposition is directly followed by the subject or object:

I sent a request for assistance to John. (object-oriented)

Jane made a request of John. (subject-oriented)

As shown in the examples above, “request for” is used when the preposition highlights the object being requested (assistance), while “request of” is used when the preposition specifies the subject/person being asked for something (John).

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To further illustrate the versatility of “request for,” let’s delve into a comparison table that explores the various contexts in which “request of” and “request for” can be used:

Context Using “Request of” Using “Request for”
Subject-oriented I received a request of Sarah.
Object-oriented Tom submitted a request for information.
Interchangeable Emily sent a request of her boss. Emily sent a request for her boss.

By understanding the various applications of “request for” in subject and object-oriented requests, English language learners and writers can effectively convey the intended meaning with clarity and precision.

“Request for” and “Request of”: Tracing Usage Over Time

As language evolves, the way we use certain words and prepositions can change, and this is true for the phrases “request of” and “request for.” In this section, we will explore how the usage of these terms has shifted over time, as well as the regional variations in their use, with a focus on American English vs British English.

Note: All data mentioned in this section is derived from Google Ngram Viewer, a tool that allows users to chart linguistic trends in books over time.

The Shift in Popularity According to Google Ngram Viewer

During the period from 1900 to 1960, the term “request of” was more common in American English texts. However, from the 1960s onwards, “request for” began to increase in popularity and is now more commonly used in books and written communication. This shift indicates a change in linguistic preference, with “request for” becoming the more prevalent form in recent years.

Decade Request of Request for
1900s 0.00006% 0.00003%
1960s 0.00006% 0.00004%
1990s 0.00003% 0.00008%
2019 0.00002% 0.00008%

Geographic Variations in Usage

When analyzing the use of “request of” and “request for” across different regions, differences in the preference for these terms become apparent. For example, the American English trend shows a marked preference for “request for” over the latter half of the 20th century, coinciding with its overall increase in popularity. In contrast, the British usage of these terms has remained more stable without significant fluctuation.

  1. American English trend:
    • Increased usage of “request for” starting in the 1960s.
    • Current preference for “request for” over “request of.”
  2. British English trend:
    • More stable usage of both terms without significant fluctuation.
    • No marked preference for one term over the other.

These regional differences in the use of “request of” and “request for” showcase the complexities of linguistic preferences and the evolving nature of language. As we navigate our interconnected world, it is essential to be aware of these variations and adapt our communication styles accordingly.

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Grammar Guide: Rules for “Request of” and “Request for”

Proper use of prepositions in English is essential for clear and accurate communication. In the context of “request of” and “request for,” both structures are grammatically correct; however, their usage depends on the specific context. This section will break down the grammar rules and provide request preposition guidelines for choosing between “request of” and “request for” effectively.

Understanding the rules for “request of” and “request for” is important to convey your intended meaning accurately.

When to Use “Request of”

  • For directive or formal requests.
  • When a subject directly follows the preposition.
  • In the phrase “at the request of” to indicate ownership or origination of the request.

Consider the following example:

She made a request of her supervisor to review the project proposal.

In this case, “request of” is used because the request is directed to a specific person (the supervisor) in a more formal tone.

When to Use “Request for”

  • When specifying the object or subject of the request.
  • When an object directly follows the preposition.
  • In combination with the verb “make,” such as “make a request for.”

Consider the following example:

He made a request for additional resources to complete the project on time.

In this case, “request for” is used because the request is made for a specific object or purpose (additional resources).

Preposition Used for Examples
Request of Subject or Formal Requests “She made a request of her supervisor…”
“At the request of the CEO, the meeting was rescheduled.”
Request for Object or Subject Specification “He made a request for additional resources…””
“A request for a refund was submitted.”

While the grammatical rules for “request of” and “request for” might seem subtle, understanding these distinctions can significantly improve your English communication skills. Always consider the context, whether a subject or object follows the request, and the formality of the request when choosing between these two prepositions.

Final Thoughts: Choosing the Correct Preposition in Context

In the world of English grammar, the smallest details can make a big difference in communication. In the case of “request of” versus “request for,” understanding the nuanced differences in preposition usage can be the key to clearer and more effective communication. This involves taking into account the subject or object following the request and the formality of the request itself.

Given their distinct contexts and connotations, mastering the usage of these two prepositions is essential for correct preposition selection. As a general guideline, “request of” is most appropriate when used in more formal requests or when directing a request towards an individual. Conversely, “request for” is more versatile, commonly referring to the specific subject or object being requested.

Knowing when to use “request of” or “request for” is a hallmark of advanced English proficiency. With practice and consistent application of grammar rules, you are well on your way to becoming a highly effective communicator in both written and conversational English. Keep honing your skills, and remember that context is key when selecting the appropriate preposition for your requests.

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