For + Gerund Clause

State the function of things — What is it for?

string, boxcutter and postal tape
 

 

Stating Function

NAME OR SUBSTANCE

When asked What is it? we respond with the name or substance of the thing.

QUESTION RESPONSE
CLAUSE SUBJ-PRED COMP: NP

What is it?

It is

a box cutter.

 

 

string.

 

 

postal tape.

FUNCTION   

When asked What is it for? we respond with the function of the thing.  A gerund clause is used after for.

QUESTION RESPONSE
CLAUSE SUBJ-PRED COMP: [P + GERUND]

What is it for?

It is

for opening boxes.

 

 

for tying up boxes.

 

 

for taping boxes.

 

Related pages: Prep Complements 

 

 

 

 

 

Contrast

Function, Purpose and Means

 

 

 

FUNCTION - GERUND

When we ask  What is it for?  we focus on the function of the thing. We use for followed by a noun or a gerund. 

What's it for?  (focus on instrument)

It is for boxes. (noun)
A box cutter is for opening boxes. (gerund)

It is for newspapers.
String is for tying up newspapers. 

It is for packages.
Postal tape is for taping packages.  

PURPOSE OR INTENT -  INFINITIVE

When we ask  What do you use it for?  we focus on the user.  We use an infinitive verb form.

Why do you use it?   (focus on person)

I use boxcutter to open boxes.
I use it in order to open boxes.

I use string to tie up newspapers.
I use string in order to tie up newspapers.

I use postal tape to tape packages.
I use postal tape in order to tape packages.

 

Related page In Order to

 

 

 

Stating Method or Means 

METHOD -  BY + GERUND PHRASE

We use by to indicate a method or means of doing something.  By is followed with a gerund phrase. 

How?  (method)

You can open it by using a boxcutter.

You can open it by cutting the string.

You can open it by tearing the end.

MEANS  -  WITH + NOUN PHRASE

We use with to indicate a method or means of doing something.  With is followed by a noun phrase (a tool, implement, system, etc.). 

How?  (means, tool, implement)

You can open it with a boxcutter.

You can open it with scissors.

You can open it with a letter opener.

 

Related page  By + Gerund     

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

Why did you come here?

*I came here for getting a good education.

*I came here for to get a good education.

*I came here for get a good education.

 

I came here to get a good education.  (purpose / reason)

I came here in order to get a good education.

What is an education for? 

*Its for open your mind.

It's for opening your mind.  (function)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Functions of Gadgets

 

 

 

Complete the sentence with an expression for function, purpose or means.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check 1-10" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

1.
pedometer gadget - a small mechanical or electronic device 

2.
pedometer on waistband

3.
jogging

4.
What is this device for?

It is the on and off switch of a lamp.

5.
How do you turn your lamps on and off?


6.
timer with plugHow do you turn your lamps on and off at night while you're away on vacation?


7.
lock

8.
How do you keep your things safe while you're in the gym?

I secure it them in my lnside my locker.

9.
lockerHow do you secure your locker?

I secure it    .

10.
krazy glue

11.
chipped dish

12.
How do you fix chips on the edges of dishes?

I fix it  Krazy glue on the pieces. Then I hold the pieces together until they stick.