I heard the sentence "I go to the US for studying English." is wrong. Can the preposition "for" as purpose be used in this case? Could you teach me the reason why this sentence is wrong?

  • 2
    You should ask on English Language Learners. The problem I think is that the tense/aspect is wrong, and it makes it sound like you habitually go to the US. "I went", "I am going", "I will go" are better alternatives. – curiousdannii Oct 17 '14 at 8:38
  • A noun referring to the instrument (actual means) is usual before such a for-construction (as I feel 'extracting' here is on the verbal side, I'm not deliriously happy about labelling 'for extracting ...' a prepositional phrase – though that's the usual analysis): 'I have a special pair of pliers for extracting nails'. Here, 'I go to the US in order to study English' would sound more natural, but 'I attend an English course in the States' more so. The latter does not carry the 'nip across every other Tuesday' impression that curiousdannii points out. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 17 '14 at 9:20
  • Yeah, there are basically two problems there, to the US ear: "I go to.." should be something like "I am going to.." or "I will go to..", and ".. for studying English" should be ".. to study English". (Though don't ask me to cite the rules involved.) – Hot Licks Oct 17 '14 at 11:57
  • To complicate your understanding of the vagaries of English, I note that adding the phrases "plan to" and "the purpose of" to your original wording would yield a sentence that is perfectly acceptable in everyday English: "I plan to go to the U.S. for the purpose of studying English." – Sven Yargs Oct 30 '14 at 17:57

To explain why we do, did or are going to do something we use an infinitive of purpose:

  • She went to the bar to get a drink.
  • I go to the gym to keep fit.
  • I'm going to the US to study English.
  • They stopped to have a rest.

To explain how some object (i.e. a noun) is used as a tool to achieve something, we use for

  • This pen's for writing on glass.
  • Binbags are for keeping rubbish in.
  • What's it for?
  • It's for scraping the ice of windows.

In the Original Poster's example, they are explaining why they do something, so we need to use an infinitive of purpose:

  • I go to the US to study English.

There may be an issue with the verb form in the example. If the speaker is talking about going to the US habitually, then there's no problem with using the present here. If he mean's he's going in the near future, a present continuous would be better:

  • I'm going to the US to study English.

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