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… who with Mississippi's attorney general Mike Moore are suing Big Tobacco to reimburse the state for Medicaid funds used to treat people with smoking-related illnesses.

(Source)

We always say: s/he sued for cheating etc. we use for after suing word. but above sentence to is used why?

  • please don't edit my question. please revert the changes. – Hsaai Tsueng Aug 14 '16 at 5:19
  • This whole, long phrase: "to reimburse the state for Medicaid funds used to treat people with smoking-related illnesses" is called an infinitive phrase. It has the marker "to" + the infinitive (first entry in the dictionary) form of the verb "reimburse" along with complements and modifiers to act as ONE word. An infinitive or infinitive phrase acts as either a noun, adjective, or adverb, depending on how it used in the sentence. Here, it's an adverb modifying "are suing" to describe "Why?" Why are they suing? The whole phrase ANSWERS that question. Big Tobacco is the direct object of are suing – Arch Denton Sep 11 '16 at 11:08
  • for is a preposition in a prepositional phrase "She sued for cheating and here "cheating" is the object of the prepositional phrase; the object must be a noun or pronoun, and "cheating" is special kind of noun form called a gerund. A gerund is part verb + part noun, and uses the --ing part of the verb. For example, "Painting is fun." [Painting = gerund = noun subject of the sentence]. A prepositional phrase "for cheating" acts like an adjective or adverb. That's why you see for after suing--like the infinitive phrase it is modifying the verb suing. – Arch Denton Sep 11 '16 at 11:30
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According to this NGram, sue X for seems to be very much more common than sue X to. Usage in both professional and lay documents is similar, and can be divided into three main categories:

Sue X for {money}

He is a rascal; and I am determined to sue him for the debt The New York city artisan

Sue X for {reason}

I can fire my grocer by stopping purchases from him or sue him for delivering faulty products Firms, organizations and contracts

Sue X to {achieve an objective}

In this case, to can be interpreted as in order to. The objective can include getting money, as per the second example.

This is not foolproof, but it is a lot easier than having to take your partner to court and sue him to dissolve the partnership How to buy and manage rental properties

The woman could sue him to get the money she would have gotten if the marriage had taken place Fight for rights

In your example for cheating, this specifies a reason. The text that you quoted does not specify a reason: it specifies the objective - "reimburse the state", and so to is used rather than for. Note that there is a for relating to money a little later in the sentence:

… who with Mississippi's attorney general Mike Moore are suing Big Tobacco to reimburse the state for Medicaid funds used to treat people with smoking-related illnesses.

  • Your answer makes me even more confusing to me. – Hsaai Tsueng Aug 14 '16 at 5:19
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sue is both transitive and intransitive. in intransitive from it means to make a legal claim against someone

The company is suing former employee

Or in your example:

.... are suing Big Tobacco

The rest of the sentence beginning with "TO" says the Mike Moore's reason of suing Big Tobacco, which is to reimburse the state for Medicaid funds.

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