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In Order + Infinitive

Stating Purpose

Doctor operating on a patient / victim
 

 

In order vs. So that

IN ORDER + INFINITIVE

In order expresses purpose and is complemented by an infinitive clause.   Optionally, shorten in order + infinitive to just the infinitive (to + verb). The content of the in–order–clause answers the question, "Why?"

SUBJ + VERB IN ORDER INFINITIVE CLS

The doctor operated

in order

to save his patient's life.

A patient stays in a hospital

in order

to get medical care.

A nurse comes every hour

in order

to check on a patient.

SO + THAT–CLAUSE

So also expresses purpose but is complemented by a that-clause instead.   A modal , can or could, is commonly included in the that-clause. (¹Do not place a comma before so. because it changes the meaning to "result")

SUBJ + VERB SO THAT–CLAUSE

The doctor operated

so

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

A patient stays in a hospital

so

(that) s/he can get medical care.

A nurse comes every hour

so

(that) s/he can check on a patient.  

 

Review: Showing Cause & Effect  vs. Purpose
Advanced note: 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).  See Grammar Notes (infinitivals).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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.

 

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
 

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.

 

 

(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
Solution - lightbulb    Pop-Q – "Purpose"

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Finding Out "Why?"

 

 

 

Answer the "why" question with a complete sentence.

  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.

Note that in speech a short answer may begin with "to…  

e.g.
Boy raising his hand in classWhy is 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 11-20" button at the bottom, or click the "Check" button to the left  as you go.

 

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"