Can I use infinitive clauses in that way?

1-) These terms are important for me to work here happily.

2-) These terms are important to work here happily.(If it is obvious that I am talking about myself, can we omit "for me"?)

3-) These features are necessary for this game to work properly.

4-) Body language is necessary to communicate with someone correctly.

If this usage is correct, could you please explain what these infinitives' functions are?

I don't think that the examples 2-4 are adjective complements because I have never seen a source/website/book saying that "necessary and important" can have infinitive complements. (It is important/necessary to do something) is a different structure that is not the complement example, which is not the case.)

Finally, what are your thoughts? Are they grammatically OK?

  • You might hear similar examples of important from some native speakers but I consider those sentences to be better suited to an if-clause: ... important, if I'm going to work here happily. Because important doesn't rise to the level of necessary, it is for that introduces the conditionality, and that's why you cannot omit for (and still convey the same meaning).
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 11:44
  • It is not obvious that you're talking about yourself, BTW, in the second sentence. But that's not really relevant to the issue, which is about the expression of the conditional nature of these terms.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


Reversing the order of your clauses might clarify the issue for you:

For me to work here happily, these terms are important.

in other words If I am going to work here happily, these terms are important.

And by important the speaker wants the listener to understand "a necessary condition". But it doesn't really have that meaning. important doesn't quite rise to necessary except in double-talk. That's OK. It's clear contextually from For me to ...happily that you're at least threatening a necessary condition, even though important doesn't quite rise to the level of "necessary condition".

But in the second sentence it is not clear that you're expressing a condition relative to yourself, relative to the speaker of the words. The infinitive clause could apply to these terms. For example:

To work here smoothly, these terms must be adjusted. They might have worked in a factory without a labor union, but they won't work here, at least not "as is".

Because of that possibility the sentence goes off the rails when we reach are important:

To work here happily, these terms are important.

  • Well, in that case, I would like to suggest using "for+gerund" instead of "infinitive". How about that? These terms are important for my working here happily. These terms must be adjusted for working here smoothly.
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 12:22
  • Using for + gerund diminishes the conditional force. The terms are not a necessary condition for your working there. The sentence is actually quite vague. All we know is that the terms are important in some way related to your working there. I consider such a sentence marginal: The terms are important for my working there. I don't really know what it means.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 13:22

1) Looks good. You could also say:

These terms are important for me to be happy working here.

2) No, you need the for me, otherwise it denotes a generality that everyone feels.

3) Grammatically correct, but you need purpose here. You might also say:

These features are necessary in order for this game to work properly.

These features are necessary so that this game works properly.

4) I believe you need the in order to here. I would also say effectively instead of correctly.

Body language is necessary in order to communicate with someone effectively.

see to vs in order to and so that or in order that

  • Why did you get stuck in "in order to" ? I don't think that it is necessary. These features are necessary. There is no purpose here. The action that these features are necessary doesn't need any purpose. You can't ask "Why are they necessary?", but you can ask "For what are they necessary?". I don't agree with you.
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 27, 2018 at 23:57
  • You can use to when speaking instead of in order to in these cases, but if you want your thoughts to flow better, especially in writing, I would use the more specific terms here. You can say either why are they necessary or what are they necessary for. I guess you don't have to agree with me.
    – Jonathan
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 0:15
  • You do not need "in order to" in either 3 or 4 to make it communicate your intended meaning OR to make it flow naturally. It's not wrong to add it in, but it doesn't change the meaning and it makes it flow less naturally, in my opinion.
    – Sparksbet
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 0:50

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