Common Mistakes with indifferent

Which one is correct? indifferent for or indifferent to? So here in this post some points related to this answer will be discussed and you will learnt these points which help you to avoid one of English Common Mistakes.

Let’s take a look at the meaning of ‘indifferent’ before every thing:

indifferent/inˈdif(ə)rənt/ adjective – apathetic, detached; unbiased, impartial ; unconcerned, disinterested; average; mediocre; unessential, unimportant

1- UNCONCERNED, uninterested, uncaring, casual, nonchalant, offhand, uninvolved, unenthusiastic, apathetic, lukewarm, phlegmatic; unimpressed, bored, unmoved, unresponsive, impassive, dispassionate, detached, cool.
e.g. an indifferent shrug. 

2- MEDIOCRE, ordinary, average, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian, prosaic, lacklustre, forgettable, amateur, amateurish; informal OK, so-so, fair-to-middling, no great shakes, not up to much; Brit. informal not much cop; N. Amer. informal bush-league; NZ informal half-pie.
e.g. an indifferent performance. 

Opposite: enthusiastic, brilliant.

So based on the above explanation for ‘indifferent’ which was provided in Oxford dictionary, we can understand it means: “having no particular interest or sympathy”  or to think about something as “neither good nor bad” which is so popular in English language. Actually ‘indifferent’ is often concerned with neutrality and a certain lack of variation in sentiment.

Please note that it is the opposite of ‘different’ which was changed into a negative form by adding a prefix “in”. Indifferent has been a part of the English language since the 14th century. The earliest known meaning of the word was “marked by impartiality,” or “unbiased, unprejudiced.” In early use the word was predominately applied to people, especially judges.

Common Mistakes #53

Indifferent to Common Mistakes
Indifferent to Common Mistakes

×  He’s indifferent for his job.

He’s indifferent to his job.

‘Indifferent’ is an adjective which usually used with preposition to, but some English learners make a common mistake by using the preposition for with this adjective. So being ‘indifferent to’ means ‘not to be care’ about something or someone.

‘Indifferent’ is usually being used in the sense of “marked by no special liking for or dislike of something.” (And in case you were wondering, when indifferent is used in this sense it is typically followed by the preposition to, rather than for or of. So notice the following examples:

×  She used to be indifferent for the elections.
 She used to be indifferent  to  the elections.


×  They’re indifferent for the company’s new CEO.
They’re indifferent  to  the company’s new CEO.


× Most of teenagers are indifferent for the religion nowadays.
Most of teenagers are indifferent  to  the religion nowadays.


× If they’re indifferent for the state, that does’t necessarily mean they can’t rely on it.
 If they’re indifferent  to  the state, that does’t necessarily mean they can’t rely on it.


× Donald Trump seems to be so indifferent for the environmental issues.
 Donald Trump seems to be so indifferent  to  the environmental issues.


Click here to find other English Common Mistakes

About Ahmad Osmani

Ahmad Osmani
I am Ahmad Osmani, an English teacher, and translator. I have more than 15 years of experience. I have been the administrator and writer of the website since its creation. I have studied Translation Studies and English Language. I love learning and teaching different languages. My main profession is writing and translating and sometime I teach English in my free time.

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