Earlier this week, I asked a question on this website about the meaning of "for gerund".

I asked what "I earn money for buying drugs." meant, and one user answered that it meant "I earn money for the purpose of buying drugs.". But as I did more research into it, that didn't seem so true.

I got this phrase from a Boy Scouts of America website and it said, "Spring Fling Section. You earn this for attending any spring season Cub/Parent Weekend." which basically means "You earn this because you attended this session." and not
"You earn this for the purpose of attending this session."

Is my interpretation right?


1 Answer 1


Yes, both senses of for VERBing are common. "I earn money for buying drugs" may mean either

  • that you work in order to earn money with which to buy drugs, or
  • that the job for which you are paid is buying drugs.

Context has to make clear what is meant.

Incidentally, I would be careful about saying either of these, since both suggest that you are involved in the illicit drug trade.

  • Thank you for the crystal-clear answer. I can't thank you enough. Although you clarified everything I wanted to ask in the upper comment, I want to ask another question just to make sure; "He was elected president for being a good leader" can mean, "He was elected president because he was a good leader." and (although very awkward and sounds like broken English) "He was elected president to become/for the purpose of becoming a good leader." Am I correct? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 15:51
  • I see. I guess this usage of "for gerund" is only possible when the sentence is in active form, I suppose? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 16:04
  • Sorry for a lot of questions. Some passive expressions such as "This was designed for transporting people." and, " The robots were made for taking care of people." seem to make sense, at least, in the sense of future purpose. So how come verbs such as, "fired", "scolded", and other verbs do not imply future purpose, when used in passive form? Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:51
  • @BryanJones Hmm ... clearly my previous answer is wrong. Let me delete that and think more deeply about this. Thank you for pushing back! Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:06

You must log in to answer this question.

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