One Point English Lesson: Search Vs. Search For

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He was searching for his wallet…

Some verbs are followed by a direct object, and others take a preposition before the direct object. Search is one of those verbs. The usage is different depending on whether or not you use the preposition.

You can use search + [noun], with out the preposition, when the [noun] is the place you are searching in or around, like this:

  • I searched my desk several times, but I could not find my stapler. Maybe someone borrowed it. My desk is the place I was searching.
  • Jack said he searched his car and his office, but he couldn’t find his wallet.
  • Jen searched her heart and realized she still loves Johnny.

You can use search + for + [noun] when the [noun] is the thing you want to find, like this:

  • I searched for my stapler but I could not find it. Maybe someone borrowed it. My stapler is the thing I was trying to find.
  • Jack said he searched for his wallet in the car and the offices, but he couldn’t find it.
  • Jen searched for the reason she is blue, and in her heart, realized she still loves Johnny.

Did you search for something this week? What was it?

How about studying English with Michael or Jackie? We are available for private English lessons in New York, and online via Skype. Also, check out Michael’s newest book & audio podcasts, 109 Phrasal Verbs