So I was arguing with a friend of mine about the following sentence:

An engineer is someone who works for his equations to fit reality.

But my friend claimed that instead, it should be:

An engineer is someone who works so that his equations fit reality.

My question is the following: do these sentences have the same meaning? If so, is there any reason why I should use one instead of the other?

  • I can think of several formulations that sound (to me) better than either option offered here; I recommend that you not limit yourself to these two constructions. On a related note, it seems to me that this question comes dangerously close to a request for writing advice/proofreading, given that you have not put forward any argument in favor of either option you list, nor identified anything in particular about those two options that in your opinion makes them worthy of close analysis. – Sven Yargs Dec 17 '15 at 22:47

Both sound pretty awkward to me, although both are identical in meaning. Personally I would probably say something like "An engineer is someone who works to fit his equations to reality."

Of your two choices, the second sounds better than the first. "Works for" has a different kind of connotation 90% of the time. You "work for" (are employed by) a person/company (He works for Google), or "work for" a specific thing — a noun (The Olympians work for the gold medal, I work for a living). I think work for can technically be used the way you use it, it's just not normal.

  • 1
    Also "strives to have his equations fit reality" or "strives to apply his equations to reality" would work. – user20827 Dec 19 '15 at 3:10

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