In Order + Infinitive

State purpose

Doctor operating on a patient / victim
 

 

In order vs. So that

IN ORDER + INFINITIVE

Purpose can be expressed with the prepositional phrase in orderolllowed by an infinitive clause or a that-clause (almost always with a modal may or might). The prepositional phrase in order is often omitted in informal speech.

SUBJ + PRED ADJUNCT
NP + V PP INFIN / THAT CLS

The doctor operated

in order

to save his patient's life.

that he might save his patient's life.

A patient stays

in order

to get medical care.

that s/he might get medical care.

A nurse visits

in order

to check on a patient.

that s/he might check on a patient.

SO + THAT–CLAUSE

Purpose can be expressed with the preposition so folllowed by a that-clause (almost always with a modal can, will or may). Informally, that is omitted. (Do not place a comma before so because it changes the meaning to "result".)

SUBJ  + PRED ADJUNCT
NP + V PP THAT–CLAUSE

The doctor operated

so

(that) he could save his patient's life.

A patient stays

so

(that) s/he can get medical care.

A nurse visits

so

(that) s/he can check on a patient.  

 

Advanced note: (1) in traditional grammar, "to" is part of the infinitive verb form; however, in linguistic description, "to" is a subordinator related to the entire clause not just the verb (which is base form). (2) In current linguistic description, a preposition can be complemented by a wide variety of structures.  Prep Complements.

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp  –  an element required to complete the subject and verb; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners –  noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

(Azar 15-1, 19-5) (Huddleston 8 §12.2) (Swan 543)

Related page: Showing Cause & Effect  vs. Purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infinitive Clause

Introductory Clause

 

 

 

Emphasis Placement

EMPHASIS PLACEMENT

use a commaAn infinitive clause is moved to the front of a sentence to emphasize the purpose, or as an introductory clause (wording that goes well with the rest of the paragraph.  Place a comma after the clause.

To practice typing, I often go to the computer lab.

To find information, I always go the library lab.

To get an answer to a difficult problem, I ask my professor.  

NORMAL PLACEMENT

no commaNo comma is used when the infinitive clause is placed after the main clause.

I often go to the computer lab to practice typing.

I always go the library lab to find information.

I ask my professor to get an answer to a difficult problem.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Infinitive Clause

Stating "Discovery"

Advanced

 

 

 

Purpose vs. Discovery

PURPOSE

When we express purpose, the infinitive is usually followed by a noun or a noun phrase.  The actions in the main clause and the infinitive clause occur in the same time frame.  Optionally include  in order before the infinitive.                                                                                

MAIN CLAUSE INFINITIVE + NP

Steve enters his office

to find his co-workers.

A man walks into a bar

to get a drink. 

The scientist returned to his lab

to discover a cure for cancer.

The police roped off the area

to find a bag which might contain a bomb.

We went to the station. 

to catch the train.

The European Union worked out a deal

to help Greece's recovery.

DISCOVERY ¹

When we report an unexpected experience, the infinitive includes to see, to hear, to smell, to find, or to discover followed by a clause (finite or nonfinite) with information about the surprising experience. The actions in the main clause and the infinitive clause occur in different time frames.

MAIN CLAUSE INFINITIVE  + CLAUSE

Steve enters his office

to find his co-workers talking about him.

A man walks into a bar

to see a nude woman sitting at the bar.  He asks… (joke-telling)

The scientist returned to his lab.

to discover everyone had already left

The police roped off the area

only to find the bag contained an apple.

We went to the station

only to see the train leaving!  (disappointment)

The European Union worked out a deal 

only to hear the Prime Minister could not accept it. 

 

¹ This wording is particularly common in narration and joke telling.

rope off (v.) – surround an area with rope, mark an area for no access
*The nonfinite infinitival clause is an adjunct clause which can be restated as "and unexpectedly saw / heard / smelled / found / discovered  something happening." 

Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum."Catenative complements, adjuncts, and coordinates: Adjuncts of result"A Student's Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 Print. (1224)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

Education
 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

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.

Why did you throw that bag of potato chips away?

    'Cuz I'm on a diet.    short answer – not a sentence

    So that I won't eat them.

    To get rid of it.

 

SOLUTION

Why did you come here?

    I came here in order to get a good education.
    I came here to get a good education.

What is an education for? 

    It's for opening your mind.  Stating Function 

(I threw it away) because I'm on a diet.  reason

(I threw it away) so that I won't eat them.  purpose

(I threw it away)  (in order) to get rid of it. purpose

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

( ) – optional content

Also see Pop-Q "Purpose"

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Finding Out "Why?"

 

 

 

Complete the response to the "why" question.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-10" button.

 

e.g.
Boy raising his hand in classWhyis your hand up?

1.
CarWhy did you buy a small car?

2.
icecream barWhy did you go to the market?

3.
alarm clockWhy is an alarm ringing?

4.
tent under fir treesWhy did you leave work early?

5.
cell phoneWhy do you carry a cell phone?

6.
man sitting in chair watching TVWhy do you watch television?

7.


8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Profile Pictures with Character

profiles
 

 

Purpose, Means and Method

  1. Select the response from each menu that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 11-20" button.

 

11.
What the analysts found was amusing! 
What the analysts found was amusing! 
12-15.
16-20.
 
it will be more effective in showing character.
 

 

analyst (n.) – a person who collects and interprets statistical data in order to advise others, researchers
be effective (n.) – be successful, and working in the way that is intended
show a little skin (expression) – uncover some leg, arm, neck or breast

"The 4 Big Myths of Profile Pictures." OKTrends.com. 2011. Web. 28 May 2011. < http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/the-4-big-myths-of-profile-pictures/>.

 

Feedback
#11 — be effective in is a verb + preposition used before a gerund  Verb Phrs + Gerunds
#12, #14, #16, #19 — (in order) to  introduces an infinitive clause stating purpose (Why?)  "in order to verb"
#13,# 20 —  so that introduces a clause stating purpose (Why?) "so that he could do X"
#15 — by verb+ing states a means of doing something (How?)   By + Gerund "it did it by verb+ing"
#17, #18 —  for verb+ing states the function of a tool or method (What's it for?)   For + Gerund  "X is for verb+ing"