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Clauses of Purpose

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What are clauses of purpose?
Clauses of purpose explain the reason for an action. There are a few different clauses, but we will focus on clauses with to, for, and so that.

    Katie will go to England to study gardening next September.
    Bill joined a gym for his health.
    Alan studies English every day so that he can find a new job.

The first sentence explains Katie's purpose in going to England. The second sentence explains Bill's purpose in joining a gym. And the third sentence talks about the reason Alan studies English every day.

What is the sentence structure?
With clauses of purpose with to, we use the following structure:

    subject  |  verb  |  object/complement  |  infinitive (to + verb)  |  object /complement

    He  |  studied  |  English  |  to get  |  a better job.
    Albert  |  saved  |  money  |  to buy  |  an engagement ring.

With clauses of purpose with for, we use:

    subject  |  verb  |  object/complement  |  for  |  noun

    Alex  |  went to  |  the bar |  for  |  a drink.
    She  |  wakes up  |  at 7:00 every morning  |  for  |  school.

Here is the sentence structure for so that:

    subject  |  verb  |  object/complement  |  so that  |  subject  |  verb  |  object/complement

    I  |  saved  |  money  |  so that  |  I  |  could  |  take  |  a long vacation.
    Alice  |  took  |  a nap  |  so that  |  she  |  wouldn't feel  |  tired later.

How are clauses of purpose used?
Although all three clauses explain purpose, the grammar structures are different. We use to with verb clauses, for with noun clauses, and so that with SVO.

    Alan studies English every day to find a new job.
    Alan studies English every day for a new job.
    Alan studies English every day so that he can find a new job.

    She went to Australia to learn English.
    She went to Australia for English.
    She went to Australia so that she can learn English.

We can also use several clauses of purpose together. For example:

    Alan studies English every day to find a new job so that he can earn more money.
    She went to Australia so that she can learn English for her future.

Is there additional information on clauses of purpose?
Yes. It's important to note that gerunds (verb + ing) function as nouns, but gerunds generally aren't used to describe the reason for something. For example:

    X Tammy updated her resume for finding a better job.
    O Tammy updated her resume to find a better job.

    X I drank a lot of coffee for staying awake.
    O I drank a lot of coffee to stay awake.

However, gerunds can be used to describe the purpose of something or how something gets used. Let's take a look at the following examples:

    O An updated resume is important to find a better job.
    O An updated resume is important for finding a better job.

    O There are many apps to learn English these days.
    O There are many apps for learning English these days.


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