I am translating a phrase from Spanish and I would appreciate the input from a native English speaker:

I translated a phrase as "to give the opportunity of purchasing", but I am in doubt whether it would be more appropriate "to give the opportunity to purchase". Which one is the correct phrase?

  • I don't think it's off topic, since you're not just asking "translate this for me" but rather "I translated it like this, is it correct or wrong?" – Alenanno May 24 '11 at 0:23
  • @Alenanno I thought so, but since this is my first question in English.SE I'm not so sure about the rules here. Thus, I rather make sure :) – Aleadam May 24 '11 at 0:32
  • Good good :) from my experience here, I could see not all do that. – Alenanno May 24 '11 at 0:36

Both are grammatical.

"opportunity to do something" will put more emphasis on "opportunity" while "opportunity of doing something" will relatively put more on "doing something", I mean in written English.


The second one feels much more natural to me. I'm not sure that there's anything wrong with the first one though.


The more normal English expression would be

chance to buy (general-purpose, conversation)

or possibly, dependent on context

offer for sale (adverts) or option to purchase (legal small print)

There's nothing wrong with opportunity or purchase, but they are a bit 'wordy'

  • It is a wordy original, and I am trying to keep the style as close as possible. I'll keep your options for my every day language, though :) – Aleadam May 24 '11 at 0:56
  • @Aleadam: not sure we both mean the same thing by 'wordy' then. In the UK, for example, if a new company is floated on the Stock Exchange, the publicised application details (which are definitely not 'everyday' language) are normally entitled Offer to Purchase. Here's an example template, so you can see it's not 'informal' at all jurifax.com/extracts/1810Econ.pdf – FumbleFingers May 24 '11 at 1:54
  • ...and it's partly a matter of style whether you offer for sale, or to purchase. But the former is more common for 'tangibles' (property, etc.), the latter for things like equities. – FumbleFingers May 24 '11 at 1:58
  • I meant 'wordy' as a text full of long words and convoluted. In my every day language I would use 'chance to buy' instead. If I could rewrite the original, it would be 2 pages long, instead of 7 :P Regarding 'sale' or 'purchase', I believe the emphasis here is in the buyer, rather than the seller, so I prefer 'purchase'. It's about one of the big car companies making the policies for employees car pricing. The phrase is about the employee's right to buy a discounted car, not about the right of the company to sell it. – Aleadam May 24 '11 at 2:12
  • @Aleadam: oic. I think the normal English wording in that context is Option to purchase. That's what you usually get in the small print when dealerships sell/lease a new car for, say, 3 years at a fixed monthly price. At the end of the agreement period, you either just return the vehicle, or buy it for a fixed price which was defined in the original agreement. – FumbleFingers May 24 '11 at 10:42

Actually, depending on the context of the sentence, the phrase "give a purchasing opportunity" may be more idiomatic.

  • I like it, thanks! (unfortunately I already sent that translation) – Aleadam May 27 '11 at 18:15

According to Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, both your phrases are right:

  • opportunity (to do something) You'll have the opportunity to ask any questions at the end.
  • This is the perfect opportunity to make a new start.
  • opportunity (for something/for doing something) There was no opportunity for further discussion.
  • There’ll be plenty of opportunity for relaxing once the work is done.
  • opportunity (of doing something) At least give him the opportunity of explaining what happened.

So, looking at your examples:

  • opportunity (to do something) to give the opportunity to purchase
  • opportunity (of doing something) to give the opportunity of purchasing

It would also be right:

  • opportunity (for something/for doing something) *to give the opportunity **for purchasing*

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