076 How to express purpose and intention

Welcome to another episode of the Art of Business English. This week we follow the theme of last week's episode and look at vocabulary for expressing purpose. This vocabulary is essential for introducing to a reader or listener your motivation for wanting to do something.

As you can imagine, this vocabulary is essential for email writing, however, it is also great in oral communication. If you start to adopt this language in your email writing then it will soon start to spill over into your oral communication and you will successfully internalise this fundamental language. 

Listen to the episode, or watch the video below to find out all of the details.  

Examples of language to express purpose:


  • Infinitive
  • So
  • In order to
  • So as to
  • For + verb (gerund)

When do we express purpose?

  • To talk about our reason for doing something
  • To show someone our intention to do something
  • To talk about the use of an object

To (infinitive)

Example sentences

I am working at the weekend to make some extra money
John is working on a project to improve IT services in the company.

So (that) (+ will/would/can/could)

Example sentences

I am talking to management so (that) we can get some more resources allocated to the department.
Everyone must work hard for the next month so that we will meet our sales targets.

In order to (semi-formal)

Example sentences

We are migrating to a new Human Resources system in order to make staff management more streamline.
In order to complete this task successfully, you will need to have the following information.

So as to (formal)

Example sentences

We are reviewing your claim so as to resolve this matter urgently.
All staff members will receive customer service training so as to improve the customer experience.

For + (Verb – ing)
To talk about the use of an object

Example sentences

This budget allocation is for purchasing new IT equipment.
This program is used for logging staff bonuses and benefits.

Some typical errors:


  • Using “for” in front of an infinitive verb in English
  • Not using gerund when talking about the use of something
  • Using formal expressions in informal contexts

Well, there you have it, some really simple, yet essential language you can use and incorporate into your emailing and oral communication. Don't forget to follow my rules and avoid the typical errors that non-native speakers make.

Please comment below with any questions and share this episode with your friends, family and work colleagues. 

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About the Author Andrew

Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

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