Wait... when did för mean to. I've seen till mean to and for but I've only ever seen för mean for
Prepositions are very irregular in translation and languages will prefer different ones in different uses. In English, you read to someone, but in Swedish, you read för someone. It's one of those things that have to be learned by heart.
At least we can say that whenever you're talking about someone who is an audience, we use för.
Reads to, sings to –> läser för, sjunger för
The verb berättar also takes för, like Vi berättar sanningen för dig 'We tell you the truth'
'For' is often interchangeable with 'to' in English though, when you're talking about an audience. It implies you're performing a service or giving something that's appreciated, it's more positive and emotive. Saying 'to' often feels more neutral, like you're simply specifying a target for the action.
So 'the man reads for the boy' would definitely be a valid English translation, if för can carry that same sense (like the boy wants to hear a story, or is too young to read, so the man does it for the boy's benefit)
I thought that "åt" was more appropriate here: Mannen läser åt pojken, since "åt" means to do something so someone doesn't have to (he reads for the boy, because he doesn't want to/can't read himself)
Yes, åt would be a closer translation of English for here. But it would stress the aspect of "doing something so that someone else doesn't have to" more than 'for' would in English, so there's some overlap. Which is why for should be an accepted translation (it's since been added), but to is a better translation.
The following might me a little off-topic and probably dealt with in lessons yet to come, however I've been wondering how Swedish expresses indirect object / dative, which I (as a German and Spanish speaker) am used to doing though different article/pronoun inflections. I did notice how Swedish only has mig, dig, henne etc. for object pronouns. Is it common to use that för construction you made use of above instead? Or do dative and accusative have to be recognized as for the context?
You can often use the forms jag skickar henne ett brev, vi sjunger honom en sång, etc., but it's mostly very unidiomatic and can sound old-fashioned if not downright archaic. Honestly, I'd recommend you never do that.
I typed it in as "The man reads to the boy" without quotes and it listed the answer as incorrect. Did it require punctuation too?
It's not supposed to, but it will occasionally require one anyway as a bug.
Could this be translated as 'the man reads for the boy'. ie the boy cannot read himself so the man reads for him
No, we'd use åt for that - that's usually the correct preposition for the "on behalf of" meaning of "for".
"about" is also listed as possible translation for "för" , so would "the man reads (a story) about the boy" also be correct?
Afraid not - the hints are set course-wide and this is a great example of where they can really mess a translation up; it really cannot mean that at all.
Thank you for making that clear. All those little words with the different meanings are causing me some problems, but I just started learning swedish so I guess it just takes some time to learn it.