If one verb is "controlled" or "dependant" on another one, will it always be:

verb + (verb/infinitive)


I want to buy a new car.
He took keys to open the door.
She cooked lot of food to feed her family.

I am asking because usage cases above are different:

He took keys to open the door. (took - for what - to open)
   > could be paraphrased into: "He took keys in order to open the door."

I want to buy a new car. (want - to do what? - to buy)
   > could NOT be paraphrased into: "I want in order to buy a new car."
  • The verb want requires that verb that follows is in the infinite. She wants to go out; Mr Smith didn't want to go out; They both wanted to go out; Mrs Smith will want to go out in the evening. "Want" doesn't follow the "rule" you speak of, which I've never come across before. Is it in a textbook?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 7:23
  • @Mari-LouA No, I just encountered different usage cases, which are build using the same construction (talking about verb + verb/infititive. I wanna classify those usage cases and understand, if I am applying correct grammar in each case. Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 7:37

2 Answers 2


Both "to" and "in order to" are used to express purpose. They are interchangeable, but the difference is that the use of "in order to" is formal, whereas we usually use "to" in spoken English.

  • But you can't say "I asked Jane in order to buy some food." It's not the same as "I asked Jane to buy some food." Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 14:35
  • Denis Kulagin/you are right. There must be some exceptions.
    – Khan
    Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 15:04

You might say:

Verb-of-action { + object } + infinitive implies "in order to"

He grabbed a knife to cut the rope.

The glutton lives to eat.

Casey swung with all his might to hit the ball out of the park.


verb-of-desire|intention + infinitive does not.

I wanted to play the marimba.

She intends to shop for that gift online.

They plan to make this an annual event.

  • Ok. What about "I asked her to buy some food?" How does it classify? Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 15:48
  • So-called infinitive phrases can express a number of different ideas. I wasn't intending to give an exhaustive list there, just trying to show you one clear way to identify those scenarios where your did-this-in-order-to-do-that meaning applied.
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 22:49
  • Tnx! But my goal is to find all scenarios, when infinitive phrases are used. Commented Nov 20, 2014 at 7:38

You must log in to answer this question.

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