Submitted by llellc  •  February 3, 2012

“advocate for” or just “advocate”?

Is “advocate for” redundant? For example, does one advocate human rights, or advocate for them?

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"Advocate" comes from the Latin "ad" and "vocare" (literally "to call to"). I suppose that one could call to someone for someone else, but the denotation of this word requires that we not employ the redundant "for." To advocate a thing is to be "for" it already, making the idea of advocating "for" something not being for it, but being for whatever is for it.

So, it is always "advocate," never "advocate for" in a verbal form. As a nominative, of course the label is required to indicate to whom an advocate is attached.

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Thank you!! I think this whole thing came about in the context of students being self-advocates, which is eventually what we settled on. "Advocating for himself" seems awkward, or "advocating his needs," I think, is just poor grammar. In that case you'd just be speaking on behalf of the needs, not stating them clearly and making them evident. So we said he's a good self-advocate because he articulates his needs appropriately.

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As state in the previous comments, one is a verb and the other is a noun. You just need be sure that you are pronouncing each term correctly to show the difference.

to advo-KATE = verb
an advo-KIT = not

(Of course, people's accents might be slightly different... but that's how they each sound in my head!)

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If used as verb it is advocate, if used as noun you advocate for/of something/somebody. For example: I do not advocate the use of violence. An advocate for hospital workers/ advocate of free speech.

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One can advocate something or one can be an advocate for something.

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