I often used に対して when speaking, and have noticed にとって as the favorite expression of the author who's book I'm now reading. What's the difference in usage? Are there any other similar expressions I should be wary of misusing?

1 Answer 1


These are way different expressions. ~に対して can either mean "towards/to (someone・something)", or "as opposed to". ~にとって means "for"/"thinking about it as" in a way that I can't better explain without just using examples:


  • 隣人に対して友情を表す → Be friendly ("show friendliness") to your neighbour
  • 男性に対して女性はドラマやロマンチックな映画が好き - As opposed to guys, girls like dramas, romantic movies, etc.


  • うちのワンちゃんにとって必ずしも猫が敵じゃない → To/for our dog, cats are not necessarily enemies
  • 教授にとって生徒が参加するほど講義が面白くなります → For a professor, giving a lecture is more interesting the more the students participate.
  • にとって means 'form the point of view of', 'from the perspective of'.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 3:15
  • Since your second example has equal (balanced ) expressions 男性 and 女性, you should avoid the sexually discriminative (non-balanced) expression pairs guys and girls in your English translation.
    – user458
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 3:19
  • 3
    @sawa: "Sexually discriminative" is a rather explosive way of describing what I think you're really trying to get at, which is that "guys and girls" is not the right translation for 「男性と女性」. I'm going to completely sidestep the sociopolitical quagmire of whether or not "guys and girls" is discriminatory (at best, that should be discussed on English SE, not here), but suggest that it's a loose but acceptable translation because that phrasing is common in English.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 5:50
  • 3
    BTW, I'm not sure I agree that "guys and girls" is discriminatory, or even impolite for that matter. It sounds perfectly normal and unbiased in my opinion. I don' know the word 野郎, but my dictionary says "rascal", and the word "guy" is not even close to the same nuance as "rascal".
    – Zach
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 6:29
  • 2
    @sawa: Wow, yeah... I totally did not understand what you meant at first. Sorry about that. I see that you are simply saying that "boy" and "girl" are complementary the way that 「男性と女性」 are, and so it's the word "guy" that is out of place. The offered translation probably opted for "guy" so as to imply adults over children, but then that lands us in the problem of the limitation of English in that there isn't a great "guy" counterpart for females. Alright, I can concede this point to you. "Men and women" would be a more appropriate translation, and I would support editing the answer that way.
    – Questioner
    Commented Jul 15, 2011 at 7:32

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