“to do” structure and “so that” structure for aims

diamondcutter

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We can use both “to do” structure and “so that” structure to express aims. For example,

I run 5 kilometers every day to keep fit.
I run 5 kilometers every day so that I can keep fit.

I’d like to know which structure was created to express aims first in the history of English language.

I’m just curious.
 
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probus

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Your question about historical priority goes far beyond my limited scholarship. Nevertheless I offer my opinion that the first is preferable on the grounds of brevity.
 

TheParser

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NOT A TEACHER

I thought that some of my fellow members (and guests) would be interested in the comments of my favorite grammarian.

He gives these two sentences: (1) "I am not eager that I should go." (2) "I am not eager to go."

He then writes: "For centuries the to-infinitive ... [has] been crowding more and more out of common use the older [my emphasis] that-clause with a finite verb, ..."



Source: George Oliver Curme, A Grammar of the English Language (1931), Volume II, page 457.
 

diamondcutter

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Thanks for your replies, probus and TheParser.

I looked up “eager that” and “eager to” in Corpus of Contemporary American English and found that “eager that” only has 30 examples while “eager to” has 12827 examples.
 

probus

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Good work, diamondcutter. You have learnt how to help yourself in future.
 
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