Q:在表達「目的」的觀念時,我經常被 for 和 to 搞得一頭霧水,不知何時該用 for,又何時該用 to?

A:1. 當我們要表達動作的目的 (purpose) 時,可以使用 「for + 名詞」或「to + 不定詞」來表示。例如:

  • I’m going to New York next week for an interview. I hope to work for the UN. (下週我要到紐約接受面試。我希望為聯合國工作)
  • I’ve come to Taipei to attend a seminar and to meet some old friends of mine. (我來台北參加座談會並會見一些老朋友)

2. 當我們要表達東西或物品的用途 (purpose) 時,要使用 「for + V-ing」來表示。例如:

  • What are these two knives used for? (這兩把刀做什麼用?)
    This one is for cutting bread and that one is just for slicing meat. (這把是用來切麵包,而那把只用來切肉片)

3. What… for? 的問句既可表示動作的目的亦可表示東西的用途。例如:

  • What did you do that for? (為什麼你要那樣做 — 目的為何?)
    = Why did you do that? (這裡 What… for? 等於 Why…?)
  • What are these two buttons for? (這兩個按鈕做什麼用 — 用途為何?)
    The blue one is for opening the door and the green one is for closing the door. (藍色按鈕用來開門,而綠色按鈕用來關門)