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She looks out the window to see a car park outside.

She looks out the window and sees a car park outside.

Is there any difference between these?

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  • Out of the window is better. Also, both are ambiguous. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 0:01

2 Answers 2

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In the first sentence, she know the car park already and she looks out of the window to see the car park. Although, in the second sentence, she doesn't know about car park. She first looks out of the window, and see the car park (maybe for the first time).

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The first "to see a car park outside" indicates that the purpose of looking out the window was in order to see that thing.

The second form "and sees" indicates that she looked, and when she looked, that is what she saw. It does not indicate a purpose to looking out the window.

Both forms are a bit awkward. They sound like somebody is recalling events in "real time." The actions are each in present tense. It would be better to say something like this.

She looked out of the window in order to see if there was a car park outside.

She looked out of the window and saw that there was a car park outside.

By the way, "car park" would probably be understood in England as "a place to park cars."

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  • British English speakers would consider 'see a car park outside' to be potentially ambiguous, and quite possibly choose one of two meanings depending on context. Commented Mar 29, 2020 at 7:53

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