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I am confused about when to use "to verb" and when to use "for verb+ing" constructs. For example what would be the proper construct for the following sentences extracted from scientific journals:

A chemically reactive Raman probe with femtomolar sensitivity was developed for monitoring/to monitor ROS generated in living cells.

Another example:

As the metabolism products,ROS are very important in cell signaling and homeostasis to regulate/for regulating a whole wide range of biological functions.

Which construct should be used and when?

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    In those cases, there is no difference. Both constructions identify the purpose of the probe, and ROS, respectively; and among the many varieties of purpose clauses are for + gerund, and to + infinitive. No difference in meaning. It is usually the case that one can use several different constructions with the same sense; the choice is the speaker's. – John Lawler Jun 10 '13 at 15:55
  • I would personally develop something to do something and use it for something. Second sentence similarly, it is important to regulate so the metabolism uses something for regulating... I can see it vice versa, but my personal taste is what I mentioned – mplungjan Jun 10 '13 at 16:34
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I think there can be a slight difference between...

y for fooing n

y to foo n

In the first case, 'for fooing n', y is contributing to n, either by complement or composition, but not necessarily the primary or controlling subject or activity.

In the second case, 'to foo n', y is the primary or controlling subject of the activity.

Another example might demonstrate this a bit more clearly:

I use a toothbrush for brushing my teeth.

I use a toothbrush to brush my teeth.

I use toothpaste for brushing my teeth.

I use toothpaste to brush my teeth.

In these examples, it should be clear which is optional for the activity, but strongly advised, and which is essential.

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