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Is there a subtle difference between those sentences in meaning?

  1. A hero is a brave person who does things to help others.
  2. A hero is a brave person who does things that help others.
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    The first implies intent or purpose. The second indicates result. – Gary Botnovcan Dec 29 '18 at 13:25
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    I'm not a native speaker so you may take my words with a grain of salt. "To help others" is normally understood as a purpose adjunct: it tells you why they help others. The that-clause in the second sentence is a relative clause modifying "things": what helps others is what a brave person does. – user178049 Dec 29 '18 at 13:29
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    The difference is that the infinitival clause is a purpose adjunct, cf. "... who does things in order to help others", while the that clause is a relative one modifying "things", where we understand that he does things; things help others. – BillJ Dec 29 '18 at 15:54
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Yes, there is a very subtle difference in meaning. In the first sentence, the emphasis is on helping others:

A hero is a brave person who does things to help others.

In the second sentence, the emphasis is on the actions (things) that are done by the hero:

A hero is a brave person who does things that help others.

You'd more likely use the first example for a hero who seeks out people who are in trouble and then does things to help them - imagine a hero who rescues people from captivity. The emphasis is on the people.

The second example would be for a hero who does things that are good, with the goal that some possibly unknown people might benefit from those actions - imagine a hero who kills an evil witch. The emphasis is on the heroic action.

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