Giving to people for a purpose

In recent times, the obligation of developed nations to give aid for developing nations has been widely discussed.

This grammar item is handled differently by different languages. Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • Several highly independent intelligence operations were given to him.
  • Eventually they gave the house to their eldest son.
  • Don’t give it to them! They’ll waste it.
  • In these examples, give..to is followed by a person or group. (Indonesian flag kepada)

So, ‘to’ + person or people. What about ‘for’?

  • Cool, huh?! My parents gave it to me for my birthday.
  • I normally give a tip for good service, but this time I was disappointed.
  • Here give..for is followed by a purpose. (Indonesian flag untuk)

Now try this practice activity. Continue reading

To show purpose, that’s why!

I would like to study abroad one more time, especially for achieving a doctoral degree.

Indonesian flag This is an Indonesian translation for ‘untuk‘ as a way to explain purpose.

In English the answer to this kind of ‘why‘ question is nearly always ‘to + V1‘:

  • I would like to study abroad one more time, especially to achieve a doctoral degree.

Questions that focus on purpose include:

  • Why do you want to..?
  • Why did you..?
  • What did you (do that) for?

The answers will always contain ‘to + v1..’ – what is referred to as ‘the infinitive of purpose‘.

For + noun‘ is used to explain some kind of function:

A: What’s that machine for?
B: It’s for pounding rice. (function)
A. Oh. I see. But why use a machine?
B. Maybe to save time. (purpose)
A. Ah. Right.

Indonesian flag Indonesians – next time you want to translate ‘untuk‘, stop and think. Are you talking about function or purpose?