Is it Applicable TO You or FOR You? Which is Correct?

In order to decide whether to use the correct preposition with applicable, we need to think about the meaning of the word. The word applicable means that something is relevant or appropriate to something else.

To” is the most common preposition that we use with “applicable”. It is best to use “applicable to” as it will nearly always be correct.”Applicable for” is also possible but only in specific situations. 

Example to show the difference:

The fee is applicable to the course.

The fee is applicable to/for this course only. 

In the first example, “to” would be more suitable as it has a more neutral meaning i.e “this is appropriate to this”. In the second example “to” or “for” could be possible with “to” having a neutral meaning and “for” having an extra subtle meaning/emphasis that includes the fact that this is the only course with a fee. 

Applicable To

We use “applicable to” when we want to emphasize the object of “applicable”. We use “applicable to” when we discuss an object or person in general or when it constitutes the whole group.

The mandate is applicable to everyone. 

The grant is applicable to all farmers who apply.

That hypothesis could be applicable to anything. 

Applicable For

We use “applicable for” only when there is a certain sub section of people that are relevant. We only use “for” with “applicable” when we want to emphasize the reason why something is applicable to something else. 

This is only applicable for the people who are applying through the grant system. 

In the above example, “to” could also be possible but we would probably drop ”the” to mean “people in general” and also shift the emphasis from “applying through the grant system” to “people”. 

This is only applicable to people who are applying through the grant system. 

Applicable + No Preposition

The word “applicable” can also be used without a preposition when the object could be anyone or anything. 

You have to do everything that is applicable.

Three of the most common forms of applicable  are “not applicable”, “where applicable” and “if applicable”.

Not Applicable

We use “not applicable” when something is not relevant to you. It is a slightly more formal way to say that something does not apply to you. It is usually a stand-alone phrase and is not used as part of a sentence.

Where Applicable 

We use “where applicable” when we want to show people that there may be some situations where something is appropriate.

You need to fill in your details where applicable.

If Applicable

We use “if applicable” in a situation where you need to decide if it applies to you.

Tick the boxes if applicable.

Applicable + In

We use “applicable + in” when we want to describe the context that we are talking about.

This would be applicable in the area of food science. 

How do you use applicable in a sentence?

We always need a subject and an object when we use the word applicable. 

The mandate is applicable to everyone. 

In the sentence above “the mandate” is the subject and “everyone” is the object.

What is a synonym of applicable?

“Applicable” can be a difficult word to use in English so you can also use “apply” if you aren’t sure what preposition to use.

The mandate applies to everyone.