1

a. They paid a large sum for using our equipment.

b. They paid a large sum to use our equipment.

Can one tell whether we were paid before they used our equipment or after they used our equipment?


c. I paid him 100 dollars for driving around in his car for the weekend.

d. I paid him 100 dollars to drive around in his car for the weekend.

Can one tell whether the payment was made before or after the weekend in question?


The reason I have two sets of sentences is that I suspect that maybe 'use' might be a verb whose usage might be different to other verbs. That is just a suspicion, and probably a silly one.

I think the infinitive should be used when the action is supposed to take place after the payment and the 'for+gerund' construction could be used in either case, but I am not sure.

This question resembles the one I already asked, but here the agent of the infinitive or the gerund is the subject of the sentence.

2
  • 1
    I'm confused about the first pair. You say, "...they are using our equipment". This means right now, so they couldn't have paid after they used the equipment.
    – gotube
    Jun 7, 2022 at 3:58
  • I am sorry. You are correct. That sentence has no business there.. I will delete it. I was a bit confused myself when I was posting the question. I wanted to make sure it was understood that 'they' were the agent of 'using' and 'to use', but that is obvious. Sorry again.
    – azz
    Jun 7, 2022 at 7:24

1 Answer 1

1

In neither pair of sentences is there any indication about when the payment was made. It could have been before, after or even some time during the equipment use / car driving. As far as I am aware the verb "to use" is nothing special in this respect.

2
  • Thank you so much Peter. How about: "The 100 dollars I paid him was to drive around in his car for the weekend." Could I have paid him after the weekend in question?
    – azz
    Jun 7, 2022 at 3:13
  • 1
    @azz That question is a bit more subjective. "The 100 dollars I paid him was to drive around in his car for the weekend." Would probably be interpreted by most as payment in advance, before the driving took place. "here is $100 to go and drive". "The 100 dollars I paid him for driving around in his car for the weekend." could be taken as payment after the event. "here's $100 for having driven" BUT this is by no means certain and payment could still have taken place at any time before, during or after in both cases. Others will probably disagree with this interpretation. Jun 7, 2022 at 10:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .