Apply With – Apply For – Apply To

What is the difference between these phrases?

Does a student apply for college or to it?

Does a job applicant apply to an organization or with it?

Let’s look at some examples of incorrect ways to use “apply for” and “apply with.” These sentences could be corrected by using “apply to”:

Brian is applying for the theology program at Yale.

Are you interested in applying with the country’s biggest grocery chain?

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Meaning of “apply to”

This phrase is used when you put yourself forward as a candidate for something like a school program or a job. You apply to college. You apply to a company for a management position. You apply to a bank for a loan.

Meaning of “apply for”

This expression is used if your intention is to get something. You apply for scholarships. You apply for graduate school admission. You apply for a job.

Meaning of “apply with”

In this phrase, the word with implies agency, the means “by which” you apply. For example, you can apply with the click of a mouse. You can apply with a service like Indeed. You can apply with a paper application. 

So, let’s correct the sentence above:

Brian is applying to the theology program at Yale.

Are you interested in applying to the country’s biggest grocery chain?

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There are many other ways to use the verb apply: Here are some examples:

apply a rule to an occurrence

apply paint to a wall

apply oneself to one’s school work

apply a patch to a dress

apply a cause to a fight

apply a remedy to a conflict

apply pressure to a gash

apply one’s skills

apply ointment to a cut

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