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I recently came across a person saying,

I need to make money for paying my bills.

This puzzled me, because I would normally use "to pay". I've come across other uses on the Internet where people said

I need the ingredients for making a cake.

Instead of

I need the ingredients to make a cake.

Can someone explain to me the difference in meaning and how to correctly use both of these?

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  • I think they are equivalent, however I feel to shows the intention, while for shows the application, then to is more appropriate for paying, and for better for making a cake.
    – Ahmad
    Aug 29 '15 at 19:57
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This is my "gut feeling" only, I don't have any rule or example to support it.

The difference between

I need to make money for paying my bills.

and

I need to make money to pay my bills.

is subtle but discernable.

The former identifies an activity (paying bills) and speaks of the need to make money as a prerequisite. As if, "among other things I have this 'bill paying' thing that I can do, and the money is required for that, so I need to make it".

The latter puts bill paying to the forefront, so to speak, as if there is nothing else. Again, money making is a prerequisite but the repetition of 'to' puts a stress on the actions, draws them into the limelight.

"For paying my bills" does not indicate it as a priority. Just another purpose among so many, of making money. "To pay my bills" speaks to me of urgency, of vital importance.

Same notion with the cake.

I need the ingredients for making a cake.

Basically says that if some cake ingredients happen to be around, I'll take them. I might make a cake with those, or might just put it in my pocket book.

I need the ingredients to make a cake.

Says that I am going to make a cake and ingredients are wanted.

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