for vs. to

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by Cyrus the Great, Jun 13, 2014.

  1. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    185
    Would you please help me?


    which one is correct? I think both are correct, but their meaning is difference.Think


    Computers are made to calculate big numbers.


    Computers are made for calculating big numbers.




    Or, in which situation do you use number1 and number 2?
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
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  3. Enmos Staff Member

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    43,184
    'For' is correct here.
    "Computers are made for [the purpose of] calculating big numbers."

    "Computers are made to calculate big numbers" means that someone is forcing them to calculate big numbers.
    As in: "I was made to clean my room before I was allowed to go outside."


    Disclaimer: That's how I see it anyway. I'm not a native speaker.
     
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  5. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

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    It avoids ambiguity, as you say, but you could use the other construction as well.
    I don't think there is a great difference in meaning.

    "For" here means "with the purpose of"
    "To" can be used in the same way. eg

    Tarmac was invented to provide a hard wearing road surface.
    The alternative, using "for", "for the provision of" would be a bit long winded.
     
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  7. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

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    185
    Knives are good for cutting.


    Knives are good to cut.

    Thanks. Nevertheless, what about this ones?
     
  8. Enmos Staff Member

    Messages:
    43,184
    Same thing imo. That last one seems to recommend cutting knives over anything else.

    Ima cut ya, stoopid knife!



    By the way, in that last sentence of yours, you should have used 'these' in stead of 'this'.
     
  9. Enmos Staff Member

    Messages:
    43,184
    Does using 'to' in that way make it an abbreviation of 'in order to'? If so, I don't think you can use it that way in that particular sentence. 'Made' would then be an action upon 'computers' which makes no sense if they haven't been made yet.
    ...
    Something tells me I should just take an aspirin and lie down...
    lol
     
  10. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    185
    First, thank you all so much.

    Nevertheless, what about the following?


    I did it to make him happy.

    I did it for making him happy.

    Which one do you say?
     
  11. Enmos Staff Member

    Messages:
    43,184
    In that case I'd use the first one. The second one is just awkward.



    Anyway, Fraggle (the local moderator) will straighten this out when he comes online. Then you'll know for sure.
     
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    . . . but their meaning is different, not "difference."

    There's no difference. However, your premise is wrong. Computers were invented to perform calculations faster and more accurately, not for working with large numbers.

    You don't need to go that far. You can just say, "for providing a hard wearing road surface."

    These do not have the same meaning. Be careful when you're using a transitive verb. To say that an object is "good to cut" means that you intend to cut the object, rather than using the object as a cutting utensil.

    No one would say it the second way. We would understand it, but it's not proper English.

    You could say, "I did it in order to make him happy," but that is very formal and we don't usually speak that way in colloquial conversation. You might say it if you need to emphasize your point.

    "Our daughter already has twelve beautiful dolls. Why did you buy her another one? Since you lost your job, we don't have very much money."

    "I did it in order to make her happy!"
     
  13. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    185
    Thank you so much especially Fraggle.
    Nevertheless,


    Fraggle, Would you please tell me What is your opinion about this? would you possibly elaborate your explanations more? many thanks


    For' is correct here.
    "Computers are made for [the purpose of] calculating big numbers."


    "Computers are made to calculate big numbers" means that someone is forcing them to calculate big numbers.
    As in: "I was made to clean my room before I was allowed to go outside."
    ...........................................................................................................
    Is there any difference between A and B?




    In addition, can B can two meanings? If so, I can not write the second explanation as to it.






    A.Schools are made for teaching.(the purpose of the schools is teaching.)



    B.Schools are made to teach sth to the people:




    1. some individuals urged schools to teach sth to the people.


    2.?
    ...




    In addition, would you possibly tell me if there is any difference between these?







    An altimeter is used for measuring height above sea level.


    An altimeter is used to measure height above sea level.



    I have just edited this.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  14. Enmos Staff Member

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    43,184
    Thanks, Fraggle.

    Cyrus the Great, Fraggle here is the local authority on all matters linguistic.
    I suggest you take his words over mine.
     
  15. Captain Kremmen All aboard, me Hearties! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,738
    "To" means the same as "in order to"

    You can also use "so that".
    "Computers were invented so that calculations could be performed more quickly."
    "They are programmed to make calculations."
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Like all languages, English is full of ambiguity. People interpret that sentence correctly from context.

    Nonetheless, it's not really wrong to say that computers are forced to calculate. We build them in such a way that when we ask them to calculate something, they have to do it.

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    I'm not quite sure what this sentence is supposed to mean. Sorry. What is "sth"?

    We usually say that schools are "built" for a certain purpose, not "made." But if we're talking about something we want the school to do after it was built, we'd usually talk about the people who administer the school, or the staff who do the teaching, not the school itself. "The teachers are required to teach sex education, over the objections of some of the religious parents."

    No difference. However, we'd probably say "altitude" rather than "height." "Height" is used for buildings, people, trees, and other objects that are resting on the ground. "Altitude" measures the distance between an airplane and the ground.

    "Altitude" is also used to measure the distance between sea level and the ground. "Olympic athletes had to train in the mountains in 1968, in order to develop the ability to get enough oxygen at Mexico City's high altitude."
     
  17. Cyrus the Great Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    185
    Thank you so much.


    Who can create or give me two contexts for clearing the difference between the followings?


    "The infinitive" expresses general purpose OR a specific action.
    'An altimeter is used to measure height above sea level.' = The reason altimeters exist (in general) is the measurement of height.
    OR
    'An altimeter is used to measure height above sea level.' = Someone uses (at tome specific time period or situation) an altimeter to measure height.

    One can only tell by context which meaning is being used.
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Both of these interpretations are true. There is no important difference between them.
     

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