“A Letter To You” or “A Letter For You” – Correct Version

The phrases “a letter for you” and “a letter to you” are very similar, which can lead to some skepticism over which is the appropriate or proper phrase to utilize. Because of this, we will be going over the meanings of these two phrases and when they’re best to use.

Is It “A Letter For You” Or “A Letter To You”?

The phrases “a letter for you” and “a letter to you” are both correct, however, they do carry different meanings because of the prepositions “for” and “to”. We would write “a letter to” someone, but once it is completed, the “letter is for” someone.

“A Letter To You” or “A Letter For You”

The true difference in these phrases lies in the role played by the recipient of the letter. A letter is written “to” an addressee, but it is intended “for” the correct recipient.  

What Does “A Letter For You” Mean?

The phrase “a letter for you” means that we have written a letter on someone’s behalf, as they were unable to do so themselves. We have essentially assisted someone in the process of writing a letter that is addressed to someone else, for their benefit.

We could also use the phrase “a letter for you” if we are delivering a letter that is addressed to or meant for someone else. An example of this is when a neighbor’s letter has been mistakenly delivered to our home and therefore, we need to ensure that they receive their mail.  

We can now look over the following examples that highlight how this phrase can be appropriately used:

  1. Since you injured your writing hand, I volunteer to write the letter for you and perform any other tasks you may require.
  2. I wrote a letter for you, addressed to Congress, as I know you have been overwhelmingly busy lately and unable to get it accomplished.
  3. I noticed that you were busy in meetings, so I wrote a letter for you with the talking points that we had discussed.
  4. I wrote the necessary letter for you, despite having an abundance of work that I needed to get done.
  5. I wrote a letter for you, on your behalf, that you can send off as if you wrote it yourself.
  6. I have a letter for you, that was sent to me on accident by corporate.  
  7. I have a letter here for you, that was accidentally delivered to my mailbox instead of yours.
  8. Shelby wrote this letter for you, I am merely delivering it on her behalf because she is sick today.
  9. I wrote all of these letters for you, responding to the abundance of fan mail that you have received over the last month.
  10. Sydney wrote this letter for you to send off to head office, but she needs you to sign it first.

What Does “A Letter To You” Mean?

The phrase “a letter to you” means that we have written the letter ourselves, containing our thoughts, and have intended that “you” will be the recipient. Essentially, this means that whoever we are speaking to is the person to whom the letter is addressed.

Here are a few examples that we can look over, that all contain the proper use of this phrase:

  1. I wrote a letter to you addressing the issues that the company is facing. Did you receive it?
  2. Did you check your mailbox yet today? I wrote a letter to you and was hoping it had arrived.
  3. I wrote a letter to you and I expect a prompt response to my inquiries.
  4. Sam and I wrote a letter to you describing every aspect of our travels so far – I hope you enjoy it!
  5. I wrote a letter to my favorite celebrity and I genuinely hope that I receive one in return.
  6. Tom wrote a letter to you about what has been happening lately in the office and I think you should take a look at it.
  7. I wrote a letter to you and Dad telling you both about my first month away at university.
  8. Corporate wrote a letter to you and me, and I was hoping you would want to discuss the contents with me.
  9. He wrote a letter to you, telling you how he has feelings for you? That is so sweet!
  10. Did she write a nice letter to you or did you consider it to be rude?

Are “A Letter To You” And “A Letter For You” Interchangeable?

While some folks believe that these two phrases can be used interchangeably, this is not the case. It is not correct to use one of these phrases in place of another. This is because of the different meanings that the prepositions “to” and “for” hold.

We will use the preposition “to” to express the direction to a person, place, or thing – i.e.: “a letter to you” is going “to” the recipient. Whereas the preposition “for” is used to showcase the intention to belong to someone or something – i.e.: “a letter for you” belongs to the recipient or is completed on their behalf.  

Therefore, we should always consider “to” to emphasize the addressee, while “for” is the benefactive aspect.  

Is “A Letter To You” Or “A Letter For You” Used The Most?

In the present day, the phrase “a letter for you” is used more commonly than the phrase “a letter to you”, however, this was not always the case. Google Ngram Viewer highlights that from the 1800s to the mid-2000s, “a letter to you” consistently saw more frequent use.

“A Letter To You” or “A Letter For You” english usage

While “a letter for you” being utilized more popularly in the present day may seem odd, this may be due to a number of factors. The accurate use of the English language has become quite improper or irregular in recent decades. This is largely a result of a lack of care and abundant use of slang or inaccurate terms, without proper correction.

At the same time, in recent decades, there has been an increase in the amount of assistant, freelance, and contractual employment opportunities, where someone could be writing “for” someone else.