Sensitive to

A nice simple one today: it’s “sensitive to” and not “sensitive for”.

The concept of sensitivity turns up in a suprising variety of documents and contexts, but in the sense of being responsive and reacting, it’s always sensitive to.

  • allergies: sensitive to pollen
  • statistics: sensitive to small variations
  • technical: sensitive to temperature fluctuations
  • emotional: sensitive to someone else’s feelings
  • and so forth

Other words than “on” can appear in other senses. Being prickly about a subject, for instance, could be “he was sensitive about his height.” But not for.

Prevalence: moderate. Higher than you might think – the concept turns up in all sorts of documents.
Frequency: very high. Bingo every time, pretty much. Dutch uses voor in this context, and so Dunglish uses for.
Native: no. This kind of misused preposition isn’t a native error.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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