takkk asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 4 months ago

Native English speakers: What is the meaning of "wrote a reference letter for me"?

What is the difference in meaning between these two?

(a) Mr. Jones wrote a reference letter to me.

(b) Mr. Jones wrote a reference letter for me.

My understanding is that (a) means the same as Mr. Jones wrote me a reference letter." Which means that Mr. Jones wrote a reference letter and I got it.

(B) means that I was originally asked to write a reference letter to someone but since I was busy, Mr. Jones did the job instead of me. Or, (b) could mean the same as (a).

Is my understanding correct?

Thank you. I'd appreciate your feedback.

8 Answers

  • 4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Only B is correct.

    It wouldn't make sense for him to "write a reference letter to you".

    It must be addressed to your boss, or university who is supposed to receive it.

    You are not supposed to read your own reference letter.

    It describes how good of a student or worker that you are.

  • 4 months ago

    "Mr Jones wrote me a reference letter" is ambiguous. Grammatically speaking, it could mean either 'to' me, or 'for' me.

    Only the context will make it clear which meaning was intended.

    If Mr Jones wrote a reference letter FOR you, it means he wrote a letter ABOUT you, saying how suitable you are for the job that you have applied for.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    If he wrote a reference letter for you, it was to be read by your prospective school or employer.

    If he wrote one to you, then you represent the school or employer, and the letter was on behalf of a prospective student or employee.

    • John P
      Lv 7
      4 months agoReport

      Normally simply "..wrote a reference for me" (never "to me"). A "reference" is a note of how nice a person you are, or how good you are at doing your job.

  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    The difference is one is right and one is wrong. You don't write a reference letter TO someone. You can SEND it to someone, but you WRITE if FOR (on behalf of) someone.

    And we say "letter of reference", not "reference letter".

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  • Anonymous
    4 months ago

    Writing a letter TO , say John means that John will recieve it and read it.

    Writing a letter FOR John means either that John can't write for himself or, in the case of a reference letter ...the letter is written about John to a third person.

  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    wrote me a reference letter -- can mean "wrote a reference letter to me" OR "wrote a reference letter for me".

    In "wrote me", me is an indirect object. In English, that usually replaces "to me", but sometimes it replaces "for me" as well.

    to me & for me - See Nancy's response.

    Note that "to me" - is unsual. Most people would mean "for me". Using "to me" is unnatural in this case.

  • 4 months ago

    Your understanding of (a) is correct.

    But your understanding of (b) is wrong. When somebody writes a reference letter FOR you, it means he is writing the letter to recommend you to somebody who may hire you for a job, or accept you into a college, or something similar.

  • Nancy
    Lv 6
    4 months ago

    "To me" means that you were the addressee of a letter from Mr. Jones. "For me" means that someone else was the addressee of a letter that Mr. Jones wrote on your behalf and/or at your behest.

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