Interestingly, problems with the difference between to SEARCH and to SEARCH FOR appeared in two of my classes today. Take a look at the following sentences:

  1. The police SEARCHED my friend at the airport
  2. The police SEARCHED FOR my friend at the airport

In the first sentence, it was the usual security procedure before proceeding to the departure lounge. The alarm went off as he walked through the gate. The officer asked my friend to spread his arms and legs so that he could SEARCH him. Was my friend hiding a knife or some other weapon in his clothing?

In the second sentence, my friend went missing somewhere in the airport. One moment we were going round the duty-free shop together, the next moment he was gone. I started SEARCHING FOR him while trying to contact him on his phone. After 20 minutes, I decided to make a report at the police office, where I also gave them his description. Within minutes, a message was sent out to all security personnel asking them to SEARCH FOR my missing friend.

Do you see the difference between SEARCH and SEARCH FOR? Use the comments box below to send in a couple of sentences to show that you have understood.

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