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liable for, liable to

To be liable means to be responsible, often in a legal sense; the preposition for is used in this context.

  • The failed entrepreneur was now liable for her company’s $500,000 debt.
  • Is the landlord or the tenant liable for property taxes?

Liable followed by the preposition to indicates vulnerability or risk. Liable to can also be used as a synonym for likely to, especially when there is some risk of an unpleasant outcome.

  • Travellers who smuggle drugs are liable to (risk) arrest and imprisonment.
  • The young and the elderly are liable (likely) to contract the flu.
  • Are you liable (likely) to be sued?