Cohesion in English–Purpose Clauses (EP.4)

In this lesson, you will learn about the different ways to establish cohesion in English. Cohesion is the term used to describe the grammatical way by which words, sentences, and paragraphs are linked together and relationships established.

A purpose is a word meaning an object to be reached, a target, an aim, a goal, a result that is desired, and an intention.

You use a purpose clause when you want to state the purpose of the action in the independent (main) clause. The following linkers can be used to express a purpose clause:

so (that), so as to, in order to, in order that, for, ‘to’- infinitive

1.  Purpose: so (that), in order that

The doctor operated so (that) he could save his patient’s life. (so + a clause with a modal)

(So introduces an independent clause (IC) stating purpose; it sounds informal.

The dependent clause (DC) includes a modal auxiliary verb such as can, could, will, would, etc…)

The patient is staying in the hospital so that he can get medical care.

(so that + a clause with a modal)

(So that also introduces a (DC) stating purpose; it is more formal than ‘so’.

The dependent clause (DC) includes a modal auxiliary verb such as can, could, will, would, etc…)

His friends will visit him in order that it might help him to a quick recovery. (in order that + a clause with a modal)

(In order that introduces a dependent clause (DC) stating purpose; it sounds rather formal .

The dependent clause (DC) includes a modal auxiliary verb such as can, could, will, would, etc…)

Notes:

  1. In an informal style, ‘that’ can be dropped after ‘so’; this is very common in American English.
  2. When the independent clause (IC) refers to the present, you usually use can, will, may, or shall.
    a) I have drawn a diagram so that my explanation will be clearer.
  3. When the independent clause (IC) refers to the past, you usually use could, would, might, or should.
    a) I drew a diagram so that my explanation would be clearer.

2.  Purpose: so (that) (purpose)contrastwith because (reason)

My colleague leaves home early so that he can arrive to work on time in the mornings.

(So that expresses the purpose of the action that was taken in the independent clause (IC) ‘leave home early’.

The colleague’s objective is stated in the dependent clause (DC) ‘arrive to work on time’.)

Compare:

My colleague leaves home early because he was late to work several times in the mornings.

Because my colleague was late to work several times, he leaves home early in the mornings.

(Because expresses the reason why the action was taken in the independent clause (IC) ‘leave home early’.

The colleague’s reason is stated in the dependent clause (DC) ’was late to work several times’

Notes:

  1. A purpose clause generally comes after the independent clause (IC).
  2. A result clause can come before or after the independent clause (IC).

3.  Purpose: ‘to’-infinitive, in order to, so as to

The engineer went to the computer lab to print out his research report. (‘to’-infinitive + an infinitive clause)

(The ‘to’-infinitive introduces an infinitive clause stating purpose; it sounds informal)

The engineer went to the computer lab in order to print out his research report. (in order to + an infinitive clause)

The engineer went to the computer lab in order not to use his personal printer. (negative statement)

(‘In order to’ introduces an infinitive clause stating purpose; it is more formal than the ‘to’-infinitive)

The engineer went to the computer lab, so as to print out his research report.

(so as to + an infinitive clause)

The engineer went to the computer lab, so as not to use his personal printer. (negative statement)

(‘So as to’ introduces an infinitive clause stating purpose; it sounds rather formal.)

Notes:

  1. The most common type of purpose clause is the ‘to’-infinitive.
  2. When the linkers are used in a statement, they answer the question: Why?
  3. ‘So as to’ is preceded by a comma, which separates it from the independent clause (IC).

4.  Purpose: ‘to’-infinitive versus for,avoid

Somchai will go to the United States to study law at a university.

(‘to’-infinitive + an infinitive clause)

(The ‘to’-infinitive introduces an infinitive clause stating purpose of an action.)

Compare:

Somchai will go to the United States for a law degree at a university.

(‘for’ + a noun phrase/gerund)

(‘For’ introduces a noun phrase or gerund stating purpose of an action)

They always take the BTS to avoid the heavy traffic in Bangkok. (‘avoid’ + a noun phrase)

They always take the BTS to avoid getting struck in the traffic in Bangkok. (‘avoid’ + a gerund)

(Another way of making a negative purpose clause is to use ‘to avoid’ followed by a noun phrase or gerund.)

Notes:

  1. The ‘to’-infinitive is followed by a noun phrase or gerund.
  2. ‘For’ is followed by a noun phrase or gerund. However, do not use the gerund when stating the purpose of
    an action that is taken by a person; the gerund is used to state the purpose of something or how it gets used.

  3. a) correct: John updated his resume to find a better job.
    b) incorrect: John updated his resume for finding a better job.
    c) correct: An updated resume is important to find a better job.
    d) correct: An updated resume is important for finding a better job.
December 30, 2020

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