for + gerund vs to + infinitive

Here is one explanation:

Hay una diferencia sutil pero importante.

Usamos for + gerund para indicar la función y to + infinitive para indicar el proposito.

Por ejemplo:

“A cigarette lighter is for lighting cigarettes” = function.  El mechero ha sido diseñado y hecho para encender cigarillos.

“I use a cigarette lighter to light cigarettes” = purpose.  Uso un mechero para encender cigarrillos. Lo uso para este propósito.

El proposito no tiene que ser el mismo que la función:  “I use a cigarette lighter to burn documents”.  El mechero es para encender cigarrillos pero lo uso para quemar documentos.


About No More Spanglish

I have been an English teacher for over eight years in Madrid. Most of that time has been spent teaching, correcting and translating in the Media sector. My mission, and that of this blog, is to improve your level of English by eliminating one common/repeated error at a time. For further details - check me out on LinkedIn or email me directly at

Posted on 19/10/2012, in Confusing Words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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