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  1. #1
    marteliza is offline Newbie
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    Smile for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Hello fellow English teachers ! Iīm so glad I found this forum, I usually have many doubts about teaching English grammar and not sure how to explain certain things. I am sure this forum will help.

    The other day I had a student ask me what the difference is between "for" and "to" in the following phrase:

    I would like a copy of your company catalogue. We are very interested in the information (in order) to study the price of your products.


    My student made the mistake of using "for" and "to" together, for example:

    ...the information for to study the price of your products"

    I corrected him by giving him the correct version, (...to study the price ) and telling him that he canīt use "for" and "to" together, to not use "for" in front of the infinitive to study. He asked if you can say the following:

    ... the information for studying the price of your products

    How can I explain that you canīt use "for studying" in this sentence?

    If anyone can help, I would be grateful,

    Thanks!
    Last edited by marteliza; 14-Apr-2011 at 11:14. Reason: make more visible

  2. #2
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    [QUOTE=marteliza;738123]Hello fellow English teachers ! Iīm so glad I found this forum, I usually have many doubts about teaching English grammar and not sure how to explain certain things. I am sure this forum will help.

    The other day I had a student ask me what the difference is between "for" and "to" in the following phrase:

    I would like a copy of your company catalogue. We are very interested in the information (in order) to study the price of your products.


    My student made the mistake of using "for" and "to" together, for example:

    ...the information for to study the price of your products"

    I corrected him by giving him the correct version, (...to study the price ) and telling him that he canīt use "for" and "to" together, to not use "for" in front of the infinitive to study. He asked if you can say the following:

    ... the information for studying the price of your products

    How can I explain that you canīt use "for studying" in this sentence?

    If anyone can help, I would be grateful,

    Thanks!
    [/QUOTE
    Please do not explain that he cannot use "for studying" in this sentence. Swan, in his excellent "Practical English Usage" tells us that "for can be used before the -ing form of the verb to explain the 'purpose' of an object (i.e.'what it is used for')." "The altimeter is used for measuring height above sea-level."

  3. #3
    marteliza is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    thanks so much for responding and clarifying this. yes, I will tell him he can use "for studying" when explaining the purpose of the object. still though, to me, the phrase "We are interested in the information for studying the price of your products" doesn't sound right.

  4. #4
    Allen165 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Quote Originally Posted by marteliza View Post
    thanks so much for responding and clarifying this. yes, I will tell him he can use "for studying" when explaining the purpose of the object. still though, to me, the phrase "We are interested in the information for studying the price of your products" doesn't sound right.
    NOT A TEACHER.

    I don't like either sentence much.

    "We are very interested in the information because we want to study the prices of your products."

    "Study" strikes me as a bit odd. "Examine," "analyze," or "look into" might be better options.

  5. #5
    marteliza is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Thanks Jasmin, I will give my student those options which are much better. I was correcting an email that he wrote for practice and we were working on that one sentence which was not worded correctly.

    thanks again !

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Quote Originally Posted by marteliza View Post
    Hello fellow English teachers ! Iīm so glad I found this forum, I usually have many doubts about teaching English grammar and not sure how to explain certain things. I am sure this forum will help.

    The other day I had a student ask me what the difference is between "for" and "to" in the following phrase:

    I would like a copy of your company catalogue. We are very interested in the information (in order) to study the price of your products.


    My student made the mistake of using "for" and "to" together, for example:

    ...the information for to study the price of your products"

    I corrected him by giving him the correct version, (...to study the price ) and telling him that he canīt use "for" and "to" together, to not use "for" in front of the infinitive to study. He asked if you can say the following:

    ... the information for studying the price of your products

    How can I explain that you canīt use "for studying" in this sentence?

    If anyone can help, I would be grateful,

    Thanks!

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Senior Member Riquecohen gave us an excellent example of when

    a gerund can follow the preposition for.

    (2) I agree with Senior Member Jasmin that "We are very

    interested in the information for studying the price of your

    product" is a sentence that no native speaker would ever

    utter. To be frank (very honest), it sounds horrible. But I

    do not know enough grammar to explain why.

    Hopefully a teacher will give us an explanation.

    *****

    By the way, I have an idea (which is probably wrong). I do

    NOT speak Spanish, but I do know that we English speakers

    have problems when we want to use the Spanish word for

    "for." Do we use por or para? Well, I am thinking that one reason

    your students are having trouble is that this por/para matter is

    making it difficult for them in their study of English. For example, I

    found this in the Pocket Oxford Spanish Dictionary:

    Esta listo para pintar = It's ready to be painted/ It's ready for

    painting.

  7. #7
    marteliza is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Thanks so much for your advice, TheParser. In my next class I will give my student the examples of correct ways to use the phrase.

    I have difficulty explaining why you canīt use "for studying" in this phrase.

    I will definitely check out the por/para usage in the Oxford dictionary you mentioned.

    Thanks again !

  8. #8
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    Quote Originally Posted by marteliza View Post
    Thanks so much for your advice, TheParser. In my next class I will give my student the examples of correct ways to use the phrase.

    I have difficulty explaining why you canīt use "for studying" in this phrase.

    I will definitely check out the por/para usage in the Oxford dictionary you mentioned.

    Thanks again !

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Marteliza,

    I have finally found the "rule" -- thanks to Senior Member Riquecohen's

    post.

    (1) It was in Mr. Swan's book.

    (2) He says in entry 213 (not page 213):

    The infinitive alone is used to express a PERSON'S purpose:

    He then gives three examples:

    (a) We stopped to have a drink. He says NOT: for having a drink.

    (b) I went there to see Professor Taylor. NOT: for seeing him.

    (c) [this comes from entry 281]I sat down to rest.

    NOT: for resting/ for to rest.

    (I changed or abbreviated some of his examples a bit.)

    Therefore, your student should not write:

    "We are interested for studying the prices."

    *****


    (3) As Senior Member Riquecohen told us, for + ing is possible,

    Mr. Swan points out in entry 213.2., to express the purpose of a THING:

    An altimeter is used for measuring height above sea level.

    BUT

    Mr. Swan points out that the INFINITIVE is "more common" when the

    subject of the sentence is a person:

    WE use altimeters to measure height above sea level.

    THANK YOU so much for your wonderful question. It forced me to

    learn more about my native (and only) language.

    P.P.S. I think that I am permitted to say this: Mr. Michael Swan's

    Practical English Grammar is surely a "must" for English teachers.

    He explains things simply and clearly. The only drawback for me is that

    he usually avoids "grammar talk" (that is, explaining what modifies what,

    discussing various parts of speech, etc.). I like "grammar talk." (I was

    NOT paid for this "advertisement.")

  9. #9
    marteliza is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    TheParser, this explanation is so clearly explained, I finally see the light ! Thanks so much for pointing this out to me. Will consult with Mr. Swan more often now. Clear rules are important for students, so I think my doubtful student will now understand.

    Have a great day!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: for / to (teaching English to Spanish students)

    TheParser is not alone in his feelings about Swan - 'Practical English Usage' by Michael Swan

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