Does "People hate me for being jealous." mean 'they hate me because they are jealous' or 'because I am jealous'?



This statement looks ambiguous: "People hate me for being jealous".

We got this in the dictionary

hate somebody/yourself for something/for doing something
I hated myself for feeling jealous.

So, here, "People hate me for being jealous." means 'they hate me because they are jealous' or 'they hate me because I am jealous'?


Posted 2016-04-12T10:58:01.700

Reputation: 9 656

5People hate me because I am jealous. – Mia – 2016-04-12T11:08:01.010

15I disagree with the assertion that People hate me for being jealous is in any sense "ambiguous". It definitely and only means what @Mia says above, and no native speaker would ever say that if what they meant was *People hate me because they are jealous [of me]*. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-04-12T17:03:59.307

This is so difficult to tell just from a textual description. Could be aimed at any person within hearing range really. – mathreadler – 2016-04-12T19:18:10.620



In the phrase "they hate someone for something", for introduces the characteristic of the someone whom they hate (for having that characteristic).

In the phrase "they hate someone out of _____", out of introduces the motive that explains their hatred, e.g. "envy", "jealousy".


Posted 2016-04-12T10:58:01.700

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+1. The OP's confusion may relate to the conjunction "for", which can indeed denote any sort of cause ("Even the dogs he associated with hated him, for they felt the difference between them", -George Thorndike Angell). But the preposition "for" is not used so freely. – ruakh – 2016-04-12T15:09:15.590

1In "they hate someone for something", it's not just that Person A hates the characteristic of Person B, it's that they hate Person B because Person B has that characteristic. To use the original example, they hate you, not just your jealousy. – Tim S. – 2016-04-12T16:17:21.993

@Tim S: tweaked the sentence to address your valid point. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2016-04-12T16:52:58.847

1@ruakh: I believe you're probably right about the cause of OP's confusion. But when there is a something after for (i.e. a nominal of some kind, not a clause as in your example of the dogs) then what follows will be a characteristic of the hated not of the hater. *They hated her for having wealth, good looks, charm, athletic prowess, and ESP to boot.* – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2016-04-12T16:59:10.003

@TRomano: I agree, except that I'm not sure why you say "but": you seem to be agreeing with me (and with yourself, since my comment was, in turn, in agreement with your answer). – ruakh – 2016-04-13T02:40:14.513

@ruakh: I had the OP in mind there, possibly thinking that for might express the motivation/cause. My but was in opposition to that notion. – Tᴚoɯɐuo – 2016-04-13T09:38:27.240


It's not ambiguous.

People hate me for being jealous.

means that you are a jealous person. So much so that people dislike you because of it.

People hate me because they're jealous

means that other people are jealous of you and because of their jealousy, they dislike you. Since it's not what you asked, I'll keep my opinions about people who frequently use that second sentence to myself.


Posted 2016-04-12T10:58:01.700

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