Unit 5.2

Private: The Infinitive of Purpose

Introduction

We can use the to-infinitive structure to express someone’s purpose (the reason or the aim of an action).

Form

The infinitive of purpose is that in which the subject of the main clause and the performer of the action (expressed by the infinitive) are the same.

The structure of infinitive of purpose (to work) is the same as to-infinitive (to work).

There are different structures to express the purpose: to… /in order to… /so as to…

To make the negative form, we add not before to-infinitive.

Example

  • I went outside to help my mom.
    I went outside not to help my mom. (to do something else besides helping my mom)
  • He called me to invite us to the beach.
  • We travelled to see our classmates.

 

  • I went outside in order to help my mom.
    I went outside in order not to help my mom. (avoiding to help my mom)
  • I went outside in order to understand what my mom says.

 

  • I went outside so as to help my mom.

Use

We use the infinitive of purpose to express a person’s purpose. It informs about the reason of doing something.

To express situations, we can use these structures that are similar in meaning:

  • in order to … to seem more formal
  • so as to for everyday use
  • to …  a short form of these two forms above

Summary

The to-infinitive structure is used to express someone’s purpose.

There are different structures to express the purpose: to…, in order to…, so as to…

To make the negative form, we add not before to-infinitive.

For example:
— “I have to find an excuse to go to the cinema with them.” = The subject expresses his or her aim to go to the cinema.
— “I have to find an excuse not to go to the cinema with them.” = The subject expresses his aim not to go to the cinema.

NOTE: We use in order to and so as to before stative verbs like appearhave, know, seemunderstand… and the negative form in order not to if the purpose is to avoid something.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

Exercises


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English Grammar A2 Level for Azeri speakers Copyright © 2018 by books4languages. All Rights Reserved.