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Oxford Dictionaries define the nouns as

  • intention
    A thing intended; an aim or plan
  • purpose
    The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

So which sentence sounds more natural to a native speaker?

  1. I studied physics with the intention of becoming a physicist, but I recently felt no vocation to it.

Or

  1. I studied physics for the purpose of becoming a physicist, but I recently felt no vocation to it.
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3 Answers 3

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'With the purpose' implies that the thing you are doing is contributing to your goal. 'With the intention' only implies that you had another goal in mind. The action doesn't have to contribute to it.

So you can say

I went for a walk with the intention of finishing my studies later.

The walk doesn't contribute to the studies, so you could not substitute ' purpose' for 'intention'. If ' purpose' is correct you can usually substitute 'Intention'.

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I think there's more here than is mentioned. In the example "I went for a walk with the intention of finishing my studies later", there is a subtle implication that this was not arrived at (finishing of the studies). Purpose is stronger, doesn't weaken the association as much.

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  • But this is a different usage. "I went for a walk, but I intended to finish my studies later" vs "I studied physics because I had the intention of becoming a physicist". Nov 3, 2019 at 14:58
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Intention - Set of actions,promises or a kind of behavior which can conclude or reveal an ultimate result. Ex. His intention to join politics shows that he will help downtrodden. You can relate it with a Political Manifesto document revealed before public by a party before election.This document have a set of promises and actions based on which you decide what will the particular party will do once it is elected.

Purpose - A clear idea, a plan or a thought. It doesn't have actions initially, it is just a crystal clear plan, that have actions later once we decide something. Ex. Purpose of my life is to utilize the potential I have.

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    So what about the question of which sentence sounds more natural to a native speaker? May 24, 2020 at 13:23
  • In my opinion both the sentences (questions) are right, the difference is, how the intention and the purpose has been used in the above sentences. In the first sentence 'intention' answers the question 'what'. In the second sentence 'purpose' answers 'why'. 1.My intention is to become a physicist.( Simply saying 'what' do I want to become? Answer a physicist ) 2.I studied physics to become physicist.(Simply saying 'Why I studied physics? Answer: so that I can become a physicist. 'Studying physics' is the purpose to become a physicist ) May 26, 2020 at 8:10

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