Is it correct to use either "to+infinitive" or "for+ing" in sentences like the following:

He has all the tools to become/for becoming a great actor.

I think "for +ing" sounds better in these types of sentences because we are talking about the purpose of a thing, the "tools" (the "tools" will help him become a great actor). However, I did a google search and found lots of examples with the "to+infinitive" structure, and, honestly, it doesn't sound bad either. So, is there any difference between using one or the other structure in sentences like the example? If there's no difference, could you please explain why?

By the way, I wrote "to+infinitive vs. for+ing to express purpose" as the title of this question. Would it be correct if I wrote "to+infinitive vs. for+ing for expressing purpose." If yes, why? If no, why not?


Both to + infinitive and for + ing are used to express purpose.
However, purpose comes in different flavours

To + infinitive is used to answer Why?

Why are you reading?
To understand the world better.

For + ing is used to answer What is it for?

What are the apples for?
For making a pie

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In English, there are situations where we more commonly use the present participle in places where an infinitive could go. This is one of those situations.


  • "We have all the tools needed for fixing the car"

  • "He has all the tools for becoming a good actor.

Grammatically, these sentences could also be expressed as follows:

  • "We have all the tools needed for to fix the car."
  • "He has all the tools for to become a good actor."

While these examples above in today's terms may sound rather stilted and archaic, it is how people would have said these sentence even a hundred years ago, particularly in the U.K.

As such, the real difference between what are otherwise identical sentences is merely the introduction of the word "for" and what it means. What "for" does in the context of both examples is explain the express purpose of the tools, i.e., what they are for. In your sentence, we infer that the tools are for the innate purpose to make one a good actor. They are special tools for this end, not general tools to this end. The tools are like unto a spark plug wrench specifically designed for removing spark plugs being used to remove a spark plug rather than a crescent wrench designed for many purposes being used to remove a spark plug.

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