I found this description in Wikipedia on infinitive.

As a modifier of a noun or adjective. This may relate to the meaning of the noun or adjective ("a request to see someone"; "keen to get on"), or it may form a type of non-finite relative clause, like in "the man to save us"; "the method to use"; "nice to listen to".

I've got a question about "the man to save us." Why is "to save us" used, not "saving us"? If I said "the man saving us" instead of "the man to save us", would it mean other thing? Thank you.

for example, there are these contexts:

"He must be the man (to save us/saving us) from cruelty."
"He is the man (to save us/saving us) although he's also in a difficult situation."

I created those sentences, so they might be awkward, but please answer which is suitable.
My guess is that in the first sentence, "to save us" is suitable, and in the second, "saving us" is suitable.

closed as unclear what you're asking by Nigel J, tchrist Dec 13 '17 at 1:54

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  • 1
    The two don't mean exactly the same thing, but the difference is determined by the context created in the sentence in which the expression appears. Please edit your question to provide the context - otherwise there's no good way to answer it. – Rob_Ster Dec 7 '17 at 1:55
  • I found just "the man to save us" on its own phrase on Wikipedia, so I don't have context. So can I create sentences? I'll edit the answer and put sentences it it. – Stud Dec 7 '17 at 2:01
  • I gave context to "to save us" and "saving us". – Stud Dec 7 '17 at 2:17

Here's my short and sweet answer. I think that the two sentences are actually quite different in their meaning. the man to save us suggests the idea that the man's end goal is to save us while the man saving us stresses the fact that the guy is in the process of saving us. The first one focuses on a purpose while the second one on an action in progress. As an example, I'll use my own sentences:

Scientists have finally found a way to make everybody on this planet happy. (a way whose purpose is to make people happy)

Men riding horses is not an uncommon sight in the old part of the town. (the men are in the process of riding horses)

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