Expressing Purpose of Action

In this lesson, you will learn how to use some problematic prepositions that English learners
struggle with. A preposition may be defined as a connecting word, which shows the relationship
between a noun or pronoun to some other word in a grammatical structure.

Prepositions are used to express a number of relationships: accompaniment, capacity, direction,
instrument/tool, location/place, manner, means/agent, measurement, possession, purpose,
reference, similarity, state/condition, time, and transport. In this case, we will only focus on the
relationship of purpose.
A purpose is an aim or goal of a person, the reason why something is done, or something that is
desired.
The following prepositions will be discussed in this lesson:

  1. to
  2. for

In English, the prepositions ‘to’ and ‘for’ can be used to express the purpose of an action. English
learners generally do not struggle with the preposition ‘to’ when expressing purpose of an action.
However, they do struggle with the preposition ‘for’ when expressing purpose of an action.
When expressing purpose of an action with the preposition ‘to,’ the main verb must be an action
verb (e.g. come, go, send, fix, etc…) followed by the ‘to’-infinitive (e.g. to come, to go, to send, to
fix, etc…)

Every week, they exercise at the fitness center to stay in good health.
When expressing purpose of an action with the preposition ‘for,’ the main verb must be an action
verb (e.g. come, go, send, fix, etc…) followed only by a noun. Most English learners try to follow the
action verb with the bare infinitive (e.g. buy, make, reserve, etc…) or a gerund (e.g. buying,
making, reserving, etc…).

Every week, they exercise at the fitness center for good health.

correct : The man went to the store to buy some food. S + V + ‘to’-infinitive

correct : The man went to the store for some food. S + V + for + a nounincorrect: The man went to the store

for buy some food. S + V + for + bare infinitive

incorrect : The man went to the store for buying some food. S + V + for + gerundcorrect: The secretary

called the customer to make an appointment. S + V + ‘to’-infinitive

correct: The secretary called the customer for an appointment. S + V + for + a noun

incorrect: The secretary called the customer for make an appointment. S + V + for + bare infinitive

incorrect: The secretary called the customer for making an appointment. S + V + for + gerund

correct: They will contact the rental company to reserve a car. S + V + ‘to’-infinitive

correct: They will contact the rental company for a car. S + V + for + a noun

incorrect: They will contact the rental company for reserve a car. S + V + for + bare infinitive

incorrect: They will contact the rental company for reserving a car. S + V + for + gerund

 

December 30, 2020

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