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Is there any difference in meaning?

1- He died to protect his daughter.

2- He died protecting his daughter.

Comments  

Is there any difference in meaning? In casual speech, often no difference would be intended. But let's try to split a few hairs.

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1- He died to protect his daughter.

Is there any difference in meaning?

1- He died to protect his daughter.This sounds like he succeeded in protecting her ie After his death, she was no longer in danger.

2- He died protecting his daughter. This does not tell us whether she continued to be in anger after his death. ie Maybe she did, maybe she didn't.

Clive

cat deskIs there any difference in meaning?

Yes.

cat desk1- He died to protect his daughter.

I am having trouble inventing a context for this. Her being protected was the direct result of his dying. If an omniscient and evil supernatural being told him that he would harm the man's daughter unless he chose to die right then and gave him the power to cause his own instantaneous death by wishing it, then OK.

cat desk2- He died protecting his daughter.

This is what you usually see. Whatever he did to protect his daughter caused his death right then, like going hand-to-hand with the gorilla that was attacking her so that she could get to safety.