Lesson 60 Problem Prepositions IV: REQUEST FOR and SEEK FOR

The party representatives requested for hard copies of the pink sheets before accepting the results.

And this sentence is …incorrect! In today’s lesson, we explain why to request for and to seek for are grammatically incorrect! Welcome to the fourth and final lesson in the series of problem prepositions. Previous lessons looked at impact on, comprise of and emphasize on. This is also our 60th lesson and we are proud of ourselves. As part of the 60th lesson celebrations, we will look at two words instead of one today.

REQUEST FOR: Request, like impact, can be a noun or a verb. That means you can say a request or to request. According to the dictionary, request means to ask for something politely or something that is being asked for politely.

To request for (as in the example above) is incorrect because the verb to request = to ask for and already has for in it, making the added for an unnecessary repetition. Let’s use  substitution to explain this one more time.

  • Sentence 1: He (asked for) a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 2: He (requested) a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 3: He (requested) for a short break during the meeting
  • Sentence 4: He (asked for) for a short break during the meeting.

Obviously, Sentence 4 is incorrect meaning sentence 3 is equally bad English.

However, you can make/ place/ file a request for etc. That means that when request is used as noun, expressions with for are correct. You can also say to request something for someone but you cannot say to request for something! For example,

  • He made a request for more salt to be added to his soup.
  • He requested a nice love song for his crush.

SEEK FOR: The explanation for the incorrectness of seek for is similar to to request for. Synonyms for seek for include to search/look for, to try to achieve or get.

Let’s resort to the famous substitution method to prove our point.

  • Sentence 1: The current president was (looking for) a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 2: The current president was (seeking) a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 3: The current president was (seeking) for a second consecutive term in office
  • Sentence 4: The current president was (looking for) for a second consecutive term in office.

There is no need to convince you that the final sentence is invalid, thereby negating the validity of the Sentence 3.

You are however allowed to use seek after, seek to etc but definitely not seek for.

“Whatever you are seeking in life, do well to seek to improve your English” (Quote by Charismata)

We hope you have enjoyed our series on problem prepositions. Look out for a summary soon. Meanwhile, let’s have some feedback and keep sharing. More lessons available at charismataediting.wordpress.com

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