A really common source of confusion involves the use of the words “apply”.
People are often unaware of the difference between apply to vs apply for something, and it can be easy to see why this confusion occurs at first glance.
Both of these uses seem more or less the same, but once you delve deeper into them you would realize that there are unique situations where each version of the term would be a bit more accurate.
- Apply To means is that you will apply to a DMV for a driver’s license, apply to a bank for a credit card, and apply to a country’s embassy in order to obtain a visa.
- Apply for is reffered to specific role or position to fill. For example, you could say that you are applying for a position as a doctor, lawyer, accountant
We will now start off by defining the word “apply” and giving you more information about it.
What is “Apply”?
The word “apply” is a verb which means that it denotes an action that you can perform.
The first definition of this term involves requesting some kind of certification or license or submitting yourself as a candidate for a role.
Use “Apply To” When Writing an application
If you are writing an application, generally speaking, you would be applying to a regulatory body in the hopes that they would accept your application.
You can use this similarly to words like “petition” or “bid”.
The rules apply to you if you are part of an organization, for example. Another example that we can give would have to do with pricing and discounts.
The discounts can apply to a certain object if it falls under the sale criteria.
Using applying for here would generally be a mistake, as it wouldn’t denote the meaning you are going for.
Discounts do not apply for objects, they apply to them. Using one over the other would generally cause miscommunication.
Such a mistake would indicate that you are not a very good writer.
Applying a substance to a surface is also a popular way to use this terminology. You can apply a substance to a material, but you cannot apply the said substance to any kind of surface.
Once again, these two usages are quite distinct. Paying attention to those differences is a key aspect of writing well.
These terms can help you put across the correct meaning of a piece of content that you are writing.
It’s really all about feeling your way through until you come upon something or the other that sounds right in a sentence.
What this means is that you will apply to a DMV for a driver’s license, apply to a bank for a credit card, and apply to a country’s embassy in order to obtain a visa.
You cannot apply to a job offer, but you can apply to the institution that is offering this job to you. Similarly, you cannot apply to a visa, credit card or driver’s license.
Where To Use “Apply For” ?
The previous examples involved the use of apply to which might lead certain inexperienced writers to wonder when to use apply for.
While “apply to” generally tend to have wider applications. Apply for is for some circumstances.
We will be giving you a few examples that can help you better understand the correct usage of apply for and how it pertains to the content that you may be attempting to write.
Generally speaking: apply for is referred to a specific role or position that you are about to fill. For example, you could say that you are applying for a position as a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or virtually any other kind of employment-based role.
You can also say that you have to apply for a driver’s license or a library card. Once again you are referring to the specific object that you want to obtain, be that a physical object or a more vaguely defined role within an organization.
The organization or institution that is granting you this “object” as it were, with the word “object” once again referring to roles, licenses, or anything else of a similar nature, will not be apply for.
Basically, you will not be applying for a hospital. Rather, you will be applying for a job within that hospital, but if you want to refer to the institution itself then the correct terminology to use would be apply to.
The Dark Horse in the Race: Apply With
So much emphasis is placed on “apply for and apply to” that a third option often falls by the wayside. This option involves using apply with, and the main reason for it not being quite as prominent as the other two has to do with the rarity with which it tends to be applicable.
Still, something that is only rarely applicable will regardless come of use in various specific situations, so it makes sense for you to learn about it and figure out the ideal situation uses.
Apply with generally tends to refer to the mechanisms by which an application can be made.
When you apply to an institution and apply for a specific item, you will be applying with a document, form, or any other type of mechanism that will quickly communicate necessary information to the concerned parties.
This can be quite important since the mechanism that you can apply with tends to be relevant in a lot of circumstances.
Taking the example of a visa application, you must apply with a filled-out form, passport-sized photographs, a bank statement as well as any and all other requirements that the regulatory body will have laid out for you.
If you are to list down application requirements, taking note of what candidates must apply with is crucial as it will determine whether or not their application will receive approval in the first place.
Using the correct terminology here is important as well. Candidates and applicants do not have to apply for a registration form, rather the registration form is freely available to them as it is the very mechanism that they can apply with when they apply for whatever type of documentation or license they are after.
Getting terminologies mixed up here can cause a lot of confusion to people who are not all that familiar with the bureaucracy of the institution that they are contacting.
So being vigilant in this regard can end up helping all of these people, and saving them lots of time and effort.
Conclusion: Does it Even Matter?
A big part of writing in the English language involves realizing the fluidity of the words that you can use.
Many English sayings are actually quite similar to one another, and writers that are new to the field can often face a fair bit of confusion when deciding what terminology would be correct for various applications.
You need to be accurate in this regard since a lot of writing work requires the correct use of terminology, and that is something that we are going to be trying to help you with within this article.
Descriptivism is a linguistic philosophy that suggests that using any words in any order is reasonable as long as you get the message across.
While this approach makes sense from a wider sociological context.
By making academic analysis of language more cognizant of cultural particulars, it does not hold up when you are typing out any kind of official document.
The language used in official documentation, or indeed anything that is meant to convey a set of rules and regulations to a concerned party, is often quite strict.
It is like this for a reason, because maintaining consistency in the type of language used can help people better understand what is required of them.
If there is any confusion that they face, this confusion can be easily dispelled by ascertaining the true meaning of the terminology that was incorporated into whatever it is that they might be reading.
Hence, to answer this question for all writers, the difference between apply to vs apply for, and indeed apply with are very important indeed.
Without the concise use of correct language, the amount of time required in order to facilitate requests will be greatly increased, and this can become burdensome for the bureaucratic machinery that currently governs our world.
People need reliable use of terminology so that they have a clear idea of what requirements they need to fulfill, and the same goes for any other use of the word “apply” as well.