How To Express Purpose in English: Clear & Simple Examples


How do we express purpose in English? What are some expressing purpose examples in English?

As a learner or user of English, you should know how to express purpose in English. In this post, you’ll learn different ways to express purpose, expressing purpose rules, expressing purpose examples, and expressing purpose exercises with answers.

How To Express Purpose in English

There are different purpose phrases and expressions. Here are some examples:

  • So as to
  • In order to
  • To
  • For
  • Not to
  • So as not to
  • In order not to
  • So that
  • In order that
  • For the purpose of
  • With the aim of
  • With the objective of
  • With the intention of
  • With a view to
  • In case
  • The purpose of
  • …..motives in + verb + ing

Expressing Purpose Rules

Now, how are these purpose phrases and expressions used?

Look at the following expressing purpose rules:

so as to + infinitivein order not to + infinitivewith the objective of + verb + ing
in order to + infinitiveso that + subject + modal verbwith the intention of + Verb + ing
to + infinitivein order that + subject +modal verbwith a view to + verb + ing
for + verb+ ing (gerund)for the purpose of + verb +ingfor + noun
so as not to + infinitivewith the aim of + verb + ingin case + present or past
Expressing purpose rules

Expressing Purpose Examples sentences

How To Express Purpose in English

In the following examples, we’ll apply the expressing purpose rules above.

  • My kids are studying hard so as to pass their exams.
  • Be careful so as not to make the same mistake.
  • Se went to Cambridge University in order to get a degree in Medicine.
  • I’ll help you so that you can finish on time.
  • I’ll visit my doctor for a check-up.
  • She is an artist. She uses a pencil for drawing.
  • I use my smartphone to read the news online.
  • I save an amount of money every month with the aim of buying a new car.
  • I’ll give you a drive to the train station so that you won’t be late.
  • What are your motives in offering her help?

Expressing Purpose with So That

If you want to know how to use so that in sentences, take a look at the following examples:

  • You should study hard so that you can pass your tests.
  • She left very early so that she could catch the 5 a.m. train.
  • Please give him my phone number so that he can call me.
  • I saved money so that I could buy a new laptop.
  • We ran home so that we would/ could watch our favorite TV program.


So that + can/may for present or future reference.
So that + would/could/might for past reference.

As you can notice, so that is followed by can or may to refer to present or future. To refer to the past, ‘so that’ should be followed by would, could, or might.

Negative Purpose Examples

Negative purpose can be expressed in different ways. Here are some negative purpose examples:

  • So as not / in order not + to-infinitive
  1. We left early so as not to miss the train.
  2. I need to study harder so as not to fail my exams.
  3. I’ll use my umbrella in order not to get wet.
  • So that + won’t / can’t (present or future reference)
  1. I usually get up early so that I won’t miss the bus.
  2. I need a quiet place so that I won’t be disturbed by anyone.
  • So that + wouldn’t / couldn’t (past reference)
  1. It was raining and he shut the window so that the rain wouldn’t get in.
  2. I took a taxi so that I wouldn’t be late for school.
  • For fear of sth/ of doing sth/ for fear (that) + might
  1. She spoke quietly for fear of waking the baby.
  2. We lock the door for fear (that) the house might be robbed.
  3. She took a taxi to the airport for fear (that) she might miss her flight.
  • Avoid + -ing form
  1. I always get up early to avoid being late for work.
  2. I put on my woolly coat to avoid getting cold.

Expressing Purpose Exercises

The following exercises will help you practice the use of the most common expressions and phrases to express purpose.

  • Exercise 1: Fill in the blanks in the following paragraph about daily routine with expressions and phrases to express purpose.

I get up early every day ………….. I can have enough time to get ready for school. I eat a healthy breakfast …….. give me energy for the day. I brush my teeth ………… keep them healthy. I walk to school ……………. getting some exercise. I study hard ……………….. I can learn new things as well as get higher grades. I go to bed early ………………….get enough sleep. I want to get enough sleep ………..get ready for the next day.

  • Exercise 2: Join the following sentences using the words in brackets.
  • Example: We are saving money. We want to buy a new car. (so that)
  • We are saving money so that we can buy a new car.
  1. She is cleaning her room. She wants to get a reward from her mother. (so that)
  2. The government is investing in renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (in order that)
  3. My brother is studying hard because he wants to enroll in a good college. (so as to)
  4. Scientists are doing a lot of research. They want to find a cure for cancer. (with the aim of)
  5. She hurried to the train station. She did not want to miss the train. ( for fear of)
  6. The athletes are training hard these days because they want to win the gold medals in the coming Olympic Games. (to)
  7. My daughter is studying hard these days. She would like to do well on the exam. (in order to)
  8. I study English because I want to get a better job. (so that)
  9. My father went out. He wanted to do the shopping. (in order to)
  10. I went on a diet because I wanted to lose weight. (with the aim of)
  11. We are leaving now to catch the first train. ( in order that)
  12. I am going to take a taxi as I do not want to be late. (so as not)
  • Exercise 3: Complete these sentences with a purpose clause.
  1. He is studying hard ……………….
  2. I got up early this morning …………….
  3. I do exercise ………………….
  4. I am going to learn Chinese ………………….
  5. They have built a robot ………………….
  6. Our football team are training hard …………

Expressing Purpose Exercises pdf

This expressing purpose worksheet will help you practice some phrases and expressions of expressing purpose in English.

Read these Vocabulary Lessons.

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