I was wondering what function the phrase "in order to" has. I have thought for quite a while that it was used a a conjunction. However, I have recently seen sentences that use this phrase in other ways such as a clause or an adverb. Is "in order to" a conjunction or an adverb or some other clause or phrase?

  • 1
    What possibilities have you considered, and what in particular is confusing you or leading you to the question? We can't give a really good answer without knowing those things. If you can edit the question to add that information it will help greatly. – Matt Gutting Jul 1 '15 at 15:56
  • I may have answered to hastily @Matt-Gutting was right to ask for additional information and your subsequent edit is a good start. I think an example or two would also be helpful, so that we'd know what you mean when you say that you've seen phrase used as a clause or an adverb. – Jonathan Jul 1 '15 at 16:25

"In order to" is a subordinating conjunction. (I.e. a clause that follows "in order to" becomes a subordinate clause, which needs a main clause to make a complete sentence.)

"In order to" generally introduces a "final clause," which is a clause that states a purpose.

The subordinate clause introduced by "in order to" is an adverbial clause, but the phrase itself is not categorized as an adverb.

A discussion of "however," a conjunction that can be an adverb, may be of interest to you. If so, take a look at this blog post.


"In Order to" in English Grammar Today

"Final Clause" in Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage

  • An example of your own would be helpful :-) – Matt Gutting Jul 1 '15 at 16:27
  • I know of no other 'subordinating conjunctions' that take a bare infinitive, unless you include 'so as to' etc. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 1 '15 at 17:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.