I searched 2 sentences below,but I am still confused when I choose to or when I choose for.what difference between them in the aspect of grammar,meanings etc.? Could you explain that to me,please?

1.There will be ample choices for eating at fine restaurants or eating at home this summer.

2.You don’t need to bring anything. There’ll be sandwiches to eat and juice to drink.

2 Answers 2


The choice of "for" or "to" here depends on what you're actually trying to say:

  • "for eating" says that the purpose of the things is associated with the activity of eating.
  • "to eat" says that the things themselves are what will be eaten.

When talking about food, in many cases, you can use either, because if something is there "to eat" (you will be eating that thing), then it is also there "for eating" (for the purpose of being involved in the eating), but in some cases you can't. Take, for example:

There will be knives and forks for eating.


There will be knives and forks to eat.

The first sentence makes sense, because the knives and forks are there for the purpose of being used in the act of eating. The second sentence implies that you are actually going to be eating the knives and forks themselves, which sounds, well, unappetizing, at best.

(Now, in reality, if someone were to say the second sentence, it's obviously ridiculous that somebody would actually eat the knives and forks, so pretty much everybody would know that what they really meant was they were there "for eating" instead, but the point is that it's not technically correct to say that.)

In general, using the infinitive ("to (verb)") implies that the thing itself will be doing that action (or in some cases will have that action done to it), while "for (verbing)" is much more general, and just says its purpose relates in some way to the activity.

  • Thanks a bunch Foogod.But,I have another question.I doubt the first sentence below is wrong.According to your explaination,I think it should use "for helping" instead,right? We can use to + infinitive when we want to say why something exists: 1.The information desk is there to help tourists. 2.The police were there to control the crowd.
    – A.P
    Mar 24, 2020 at 4:14
  • 1
    Both of those are following the sense I mentioned in my last paragraph: "The information desk is there to help" --> the desk (meaning the staff working the desk) will actually be doing the helping. "Police were there to control the crowd" --> the police will be doing the controlling. You could also use "for" in both of these cases, but the use of "to" makes it clear that not only is that activity the purpose for them being there, they are actually the ones that will be doing the action as well.
    – Foogod
    Mar 24, 2020 at 15:53

The key is the subject. The subject in the first is “choice”, and “eating” describes what the choice is “for”. In the second, however the sandwich is the object to eat.

  • Thanks for your answer.but,If the second sentence is just "There’ll be sandwiches to eat and juice to drink." Should I use "to" or "for" here?
    – A.P
    Mar 20, 2020 at 4:16
  • Either “juice for drinking” or “juice to drink” are acceptable. “Juice for drinking” is, I believe, more proper but now becoming antiquated.
    – Patrick
    Mar 21, 2020 at 5:34
  • thanks again.but,I want to know your opinion about this "In (2) "to eat" and "to drink" are verbs in the infinitive form and they describe the purpose of the nouns they follow (the sandwiches are to be eaten and the juice is to be drunk). They could be omitted, although the sentence would not sound as natural, and in a different situation, it might not be as clear." What do you say,Patrick?
    – A.P
    Mar 23, 2020 at 3:50
  • Sorry, I was away for a while. No, unfortunately I think you are not correct. What you were proposing is command to drink the juice or the eat the sandwiches. The original sentence merely states the sandwhiches are available to be eaten, if one so chose. Or juice is available to be drank, again, if so desired.
    – Patrick
    Jul 24, 2020 at 5:09

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