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Consider the following sentences

We came here to learn English.

We came here for learning English.

I suppose most of us here would agree that both of them are grammatically correct.

And I thought they mean the same thing until a native speaker told me there is slight difference depending on contexts.

However, he didn't explain the difference and contacts. Could someone help with me on this?

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    I have no idea what your informant meant by "contacts" in this context. The first is far more natural: I'm finding it hard to come up with a context in which anybody would say the second. – Colin Fine Jun 2 '20 at 22:27
  • The OP probably meant to say "contexts", not "contacts". – Michael Rybkin Jun 2 '20 at 22:48
  • It is more than a "slight" difference: the second is not idiomatic, and would immediately mark you as a non-native speaker. If you want to use the preposition for it could be "We came here for English classes" but the first is more natural. – Weather Vane Jun 2 '20 at 22:57
  • @WeatherVane Your comment is so informative, thank you! And, the second is grammatically correct, right? – Piete3r Jun 3 '20 at 1:53
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We came here to learn English.

Correct.

We came here for learning English.

Wrong.

"For" in this context should have a noun as it's object: "for a thing".

We came here for the cupcakes.

We came here for a specific purpose.

"For" could be used with "learn":

We came here for the purpose of learning English.

Notice that "purpose" is clearly a noun. "for the purpose of learning" and "to learn" are basically synonymous here.

How about this sentence:

We came here for swimming.

Something's strange about that.

We came here to swim.

Ok.

The next question, is why. What explains the rule? This is a conundrum, because as a native speaker I know what sounds right or wrong, without always being able to say the rules. It may be due to the fact that there's a difference between a noun and a thing. Even though "learning" is grammatically a noun, it's more of an action than an object.

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