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Infinitive of Purpose

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Transcript

In this video, we're gonna talk about a very common grammar form, the infinitive of purpose. So first of all, just consider this choice. I walk for getting exercise, or I walk to get exercise. Which is the correct way to talk about the purpose of why I walk? So turns out on the GMAT, that using the word for, for getting, this is always gonna be incorrect.

So the GMAT does not like this at all. And using an infinitive to show purpose is always what the GMAT will prefer, and this is always what is preferred in formal writing. The correct way to express the purpose of an action is an infinitive of purpose, not for plus a gerund. So once again, I will travel to China to visit the Daoist temples, okay, infinitive of purpose, as opposed to I will travel to China for visiting the Daoist temples.

That would be wrong 100% of the time on the GMAT. So notice we have to be very careful here, this is not an idiom specific to certain words. So later on in the idiom section we'll talk about certain verbs that, that demand the infinitive, that always take the infinite of certain verbs do that, this is not a rule for only certain verbs, this is something that is true for every verb.

And indeed, this structure can be used for virtually any verb. Any time an action can be performed with any purpose whatsoever, we can use the infinitive of a purpose. We can use it with a transitive verb. So, here are some transitive verbs, that is to say, verbs that are taking direct objects.

We can use it with an intransitive verb. These are verbs that can't take a direct object. The verb ski and the verb sell are intransitive verbs. They do not take direct objects. We can use it with a passive verb, so the dog was locked in the basement to prevent her from barking at the guests.

So even though a subject is not specified, we can still use an infinitive of purpose. We can easily use it in a participle phrase. So, this is an enormously versatile form that we can use in a variety of different ways. So, it's an important to understand some of the variations. The basic infinitive of a purpose is, A did X to do Y.

So, just ordinary infinitive. It's slightly clearer if we add the words, A did X in order to do Y. And it's clearer and more formal to say, A did X so as to do Y. So, when would we use these? Well, first of all, notice that we have a sentence such as, Mike wants to go to China to see the Daoist temples.

To, to, to, if we have all these to's floating around, it's a bit confusing, which one of those to's is actually beginning the infinitive of a purpose? In other words, this could be a confusing thing, especially in a longer sentence. Well, if we just throw in, Mike wants to go to China in order to see the Daoist temples, well then, it's immediately clear, what's the action, what's the purpose.

That becomes very clear. Here's another sentence. James Legge translated the Chinese classics to give missionaries a better understanding of Chinese culture. That sentence is 100% grammatically correct. Some people might consider it a tad informal.

So we can make it slightly more formal by just adding, so as to. James Legge translated the Chinese classics so as to give missionaries a better understanding of Chinese culture. It's very important to understand, that GMAT is not going to ask you to choose between these two, the orange at the top, the blue at the bottom. It's not that the one at the top is wrong, both of these are perfectly correct.

It's just that the more formal language is more likely to show up on the GMAT sentence correction. And that's why you should be used to the more formal choice. So in summary, when we show purpose, we have to show it with an infinitive, not with for, plus a gerund. Notice that most infinitives in writings are infinitive of purpose, and in fact if you just read ordinary newspapers, magazines, just notice where they use infinitives.

Most of the infinitives used in writing are infinitives of purpose. The structures in order to, and so as to, add clarity and especially the latter make the sentence more formal. And again this is not difference of right and wrong, but it's just more likely that you'll see formal language on the GMAT sentence correction.

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