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When you say, "I opened the box to find his letter inside," which of the following does it mean?

A: I opened the box and (as a result) I found his letter inside. B: I opened the box in order to look for his letter inside.

Will you have to guess from the overall context?

  • I think it would be analogous to "resultative" have. Option A. I opened the door only to have the wind slam it shut. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 7 '17 at 17:41
  • A has the clearest meaning. The intent of B could be written "I opened the box to look for his letter inside", or "I opened the box in order to find his letter inside". I wouldn't use find alone in this context because nothing has happened yet. – user3169 Jul 7 '17 at 22:41
  • As you surmise, the answer is entirely dependent upon the context. If you intend to express either A or B unabiguously, the sentence does not suit. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '17 at 3:06
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"A: I opened the box and (as a result) I found his letter inside" is the correct meaning. You would use different phrasing if you meant B.

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  • Please edit to include an explanation of why you think this is correct; answers without explanation do not teach the patterns of the language well. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Jul 8 '17 at 3:02

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