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Hi,
I know I can use "to" instead of "in order to", but... can I always do that? Or is it wrong (=not natural) in certain cases, like after verbs like "need" and want"?
Examples:

I think I need a mother to understand what it feels like to be a children.
Can I use "to" instead of "in order to"? That sentence could mean "A mother that understand what it feels like to be a children, that's what I need"

Schools need volunteers to help children to read.
What does it mean? Is that "to" = "in order to"?
I need you to go to the drugstore to buy some pot.
But this doesn't mean "in order to"... so "to" is used to mean "in order to", but it is ambiguous, right?

Thanks Emotion: smile
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Comments  
KooyeenHi,
I know I can use "to" instead of "in order to", but... can I always do that? Or is it wrong (=not natural) in certain cases, like after verbs like "need" and want"?
Examples:

I think I need a mother to understand what it feels like to be a children. tsk, tsk...Emotion: wink
Can I use "to" instead of "in order to"? That sentence could mean "A mother that understands what it feels like to be a children, that's what I need" Yes, it can be interpretted that way.

Schools need volunteers to help children to read.
What does it mean? Is that "to" = "in order to"? Probably not, but it's not clear.
I need you to go to the drugstore to buy some pot. This one isn't ambiguous to me. (I did wonder, however, which drugstore sells pot...)Emotion: stick out tongue
But this doesn't mean "in order to"... so "to" is used to mean "in order to", but it is ambiguous, right?

Thanks Emotion: smile

I always use 'in order to' if I think 'to' might possibly be misinterpretted.
Damn, what stupid mistakes I do... hmm ...make when I don't think before typing.

Thank you.
If I got it right, "to" can always be used instead of "in order to", as long as there's no ambiguity. And that depends on the context.

I want to have fun tonight. But I need a hot chick to have fun. Hmm, how do I find that? (=in order to? I wanted to use it that way)


I need to have fun tonight. And I want a hot chick to have fun. Hmm, how do I find that? (=in order to? I wanted to use it that way)

But I'm still not sure. Ok, I found a way to understand, I'll ask this question:
Is it possible that a "to" after "need" or "want" means "in order to"? Can you think of any examples where "to" can't be used instead of "in order to"?

Thank you Emotion: smile
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KooyeenDamn, what stupid mistakes I do... hmm ...make when I don't think before typing.

Thank you.
If I got it right, "to" can always be used instead of "in order to", as long as there's no ambiguity. And that depends on the context.

I want to have fun tonight. But I need a hot chick to have fun. Hmm, how do I find that? (=in order to? I wanted to use it that way) I would understand 'in order to' based on the whole sentence itself.


I need to have fun tonight. And I want a hot chick to have fun. Hmm, how do I find that? (=in order to? I wanted to use it that way) To me, this one means "It is my desire that a hot chick have fun." (How very gallant of you...Emotion: smile)
A standard format is want somebody to do something:
"I want you to close the door." (It is my wish/desire that you close the door.)
"Do you want me to leave?" (Is it your wish/desire that I leave?)

So, if you want somebody in order to do something, you'll need to say 'in order to'.

Does that help? Maybe someone else will come up with some ideas.
Thank you so much again.

But I'm still confused... I believe "to" can always be used instead of "in order to"... even after "want" and "need"...
Would these be wrong? I think they are perfectly ok:

I need an email client, because I want to download the mail. ---> I need an email client to dowload the mail. (to = in order to)

I want an email client, because I want to download the mail. ---> I want an email client to dowload the mail. (to = in order to)

I want my audio player to start automatically after the operating system is ready. ("to" is not equal to "in order to" in this case. It is the audio player that starts)

I need my P2P client to reconnect automatically after it get disconnected, because I'm not always at my PC. ("to" is not equal to "in order to" in this case. It is the P2P client that reconnects)

So I think "to" in those cases is actually used and sounds natural, it's just that it can be ambiguous... Emotion: smile
KooyeenThank you so much again.

But I'm still confused... I believe "to" can always be used instead of "in order to"... even after "want" and "need"... Emotion: surprise
Never say 'never', and never say 'always' -- especially when referring to English.Emotion: smile
Would these be wrong? I think they are perfectly ok:


I need an email client, because I want to download the mail. ---> I need an email client to dowload the mail. (to = in order to) OK

I want an email client, because I want to download the mail. ---> I want an email client to dowload the mail. (to = in order to)
Yes, I would understand 'in order to'.


I want my audio player to start automatically after the operating system is ready. ("to" is not equal to "in order to" in this case. It is the audio player that starts) Yes

I need my P2P client to reconnect automatically after it get disconnected, because I'm not always at my PC. ("to" is not equal to "in order to" in this case. It is the P2P client that reconnects) Right

So I think "to" in those cases is actually used and sounds natural, it's just that it can be ambiguous... Emotion: smileI wasn't saying it can't be used. I recommended using the full 'in order to' if you think the sentence might be misunderstood.

It's true that not all sentences will be misinterpretted. And, generally speaking, the more context you have, the less likely you are to be misunderstood. But, let's face it, not all sentences are long ones, and not everyone writes well. So I'm going to throw a few short sentences at you just to see what you understand: Emotion: smile

1. We need this program to connect automatically.
2. He wants the cat to sleep.
3. I need Joe to answer this email.

What do you think?
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Let me see if I get this right.

1. We need this program to connect automatically. => in order to is so wrong
2. He wants the cat to sleep. => 'in order to' can be correct but it's kind of illogical as it implies without the cat, he can't sleep. so most likely the meaning is not 'in order to'. If the speaker really means 'in order to', he should explicitly say that.

3. I need Joe to answer this email. => ambiguos.Both meanings are possible but based on the proximity rule, the likely meaning is "Joe should answer the email". Because if otherwise, 'in order to' should have been used.
Thank you Amy for helping me again.

Let's put it another way, otherwise this thread will never end...
A look at your sentences, to start with:

1. We need this program to connect automatically. (This probably means that the program has to connect automatically, but there's always room for ambiguity)
2. He wants the cat to sleep. (This is ambiguous. It could also mean "in order to" in "He doesn't sleep alone. He wants the cat to sleep.")
3. I need Joe to answer this email. (This is ambiguous too. It could mean "in order to" in "I can't answer this email written in Arabic. I need Joe to answer this email, since he's the one one who knows Arabic here.")

Now, to put it another way, I am aware of the fact that "to" instead of "in order to" might be ambiguous in many situations, but let's just say I wanted to know if such substitution is possible and common.
I don't think that native speakers always use "in order to", not even after "want" or "need". Of course, it could be ambiguous to say "to" instead, but just considering that "ambiguous" is a sign that it is actually "possible" (otherwise it wouldn't be ambiguous, it would just be wrong or odd)
"Me is studying English" sounds odd to most Americans and would not be used. But would "He wants the cat to sleep" instead of "He wants the cat in order to sleep"be odd and not used? I don't think so. Ambiguity is another matter... and if the context allows you to be understood, is there something wrong with "to" instead of "in order to"? I think it's ok in every (oh, ok, never say never in English Emotion: wink) situation...

Comments? Thanks again Emotion: smile
Hi New2grammar

Good analysis! I think my 3 sentences are all ambiguous to one degree or another:

1. This could also mean 'in order to': We need this program because without it we can't connect automatically.
2. I agree with your analysis, but I don't think you can rule out the 'in order to' interpretation.
3. This is probably the most ambiguous. Either Joe is the one (for whatever reason) who should answer the email, or you need Joe's help in order to answer the email yourself.
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