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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > use to / for    

use to / for


use to / for
Hi, I was wondering if there is any difference in the meaning of these two structures:
      use sth to do sth
      use sth for doing sth
For instance you can use a vacuum cleaner to clean the floor or for cleaning the floor.
I �ll be glad if you can help me Wink

17 Aug 2010      


I don �t think there �s any difference in meaning, both are grammatically correct, though I �d use the first one :  TO + verb  /  FOR + noun ... that sounds better to me .  Hugs !

17 Aug 2010     


I think it�s  better use your vacuum cleaner to clean the floor. I hope this can help you and I�m not wrong, a hug.

17 Aug 2010     

United States

I agree that it sounds normal to say to use the vacuum cleaner TO clean the floor when describing and defining the normal (expected) function of a vacuum cleaner.

I would say a vaccuum cleaner is not FOR clearing snow  from the walkway. (emphasizing a prohibition or misuse?)

The first seems descriptive (defining) to me, and the second seems prescriptive(giving directions, commands?).

does that make sense to anyone else?

17 Aug 2010     


Hi Chilvis,
As far as I know these structures differ in meaning. I �ll try to give some example sentences to highlight the difference.
Today I used my old car to go shopping. (The new one was used by other family member.)
Here I refer to the car as a tool I use in order to do sg with it or to get some results.
My old car is only used for going shopping. (The new one is used for some other thing.)
In this sentence I refer to the function of an object in general.
Hope I could help you.
Cheers    Big smile

17 Aug 2010     


Hi Mary, you �re right about the emphasis on prohibition, it makes a perfect example of the use of "for". Thank you from me, too !!

17 Aug 2010