I was told by someone, several years ago, that It is the tool to fasten the bolts is not correct.

I often find the following sentences that are considered correct.

I will send a technician to fix your car.

He has a permit to stay here for a week.

Those three sentences contain a noun + infinitive phrase. Why should the first sentence be considered incorrect?

2 Answers 2


These are all grammatical and idiomatic:

It is the tool for fastening the bolts.

It is the tool used to fasten the bolts.

It's the tool to fasten the bolts with. informal/colloquial

It's the tool to fasten the bolts. informal/colloquial

The scalpel is a knife to cut a patient open. informal/colloquial


It is the tool to fasten the bolts can be acceptable in English, but only under the circumstances where you have a unique tool that is used to fasten a specific set of bolts. This sentence is not acceptable if you mean that this is a tool to fasten all types of bolts. Where you are talking about non-specific types of bolts you do not use the definite article before the word 'bolts'.

Without changing your sentence majorly, sentence A could best be said as:

It is a tool to fasten bolts.

While that sentence is grammatically correct, a native English speaker would more likely say:

It is a tool for fastening bolts.

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