#EngClass: Expressing Purpose

Heyya, fellas! How did you day go? It’s only the third day of the week but I’ve heard more than enough sad news. So, wherever you are and whatever you do, fellas. Please… stay safe and healthy. And to you who’re having hard times, stay strong.

Enough of the sullen mood. Let’s start today’s session, shall we? Last week, we received a question from @Chifara_. She asked about the differences between ‘so that’, ‘in order to’, and ‘to’. Instead of keeping it to ourselves, why not share it with you too?

There are various ways of expressing purpose in English. We can use: ‘to’, ‘so as to’, ‘so that’, or ‘in order (to/that)’.

These conjunctions are used when we want to show the purpose of an action, to say WHY we did it.


‘So that’, ‘in order’, ‘so as’, and ‘to’ are used to answer the question of: WHY?

They are known as ‘subordinating conjunctions’. They connect a main (independent) clause and a subordinate (dependent) clause. ‘Subordinating conjunction’ acts as a bridge to connect one clause to another dependent clause.

In today’s session, we’ll talk a little bit more about how to use these subordinating conjunctions.


A. We use TO + INFINITIVE to show the purpose of an action. 


TO + INFINITIVE is generally used only in affirmative statements.


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B. We use SO AS TO & IN ORDER TO to express purpose.

SO AS TO & IN ORDER TO is often used interchangeably. In sentence, they are followed by the infinitive verbs.


Example of SO AS TO:


Example of IN ORDER TO:



To form a negative statement, NOT is added right before the word TO. Again, it is then followed by the infinitive verb.


The negative statement expresses that one action will help avoid having to do something else or prevent another thing happening.

Example of SO AS NOT TO:


Example of IN ORDER NOT TO:




C. We use SO THAT & IN ORDER THAT to say that one action makes another action possible.

SO THAT & IN ORDER THAT is generally followed by a modal.


Example of SO THAT:


Example of IN ORDER THAT:



To form a negative statement, NOT is added right after modal. Again, it is then followed by the infinitive verb.


Example of SO THAT + MODAL + NOT:




We’ve now come to the end of today’s session. I hope the explanation was clear enough. If you have any question regarding today’s session, feel free to mention us and ask away.

That’s a wrap, fellas! Thanks for tuning in to today’s session. See you again tomorrow. XOXO

Compiled and written by @miss_qiak for @EnglishTips4U on Wednesday, October 12, 2016.


4 responses to “#EngClass: Expressing Purpose

  1. Pingback: #EngClass: expressing illness | @EnglishTips4U·

  2. Pingback: #EngTips: Making apologies | @EnglishTips4U·

  3. Pingback: #EngClass: Expressing possibility | @EnglishTips4U·

  4. Pingback: #EngClass: Using ‘So That’ (Expressing Purpose) | @EnglishTips4U·

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