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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #105479: Cause ? Aim? Not mixing the two concepts ...
Cause ? Aim? Not mixing the two concepts ...
A very difficult point in English grammar when students reach the end of Junior High, or the beginning of High School, is for them to make a clear difference between the AIM and the CAUSE . Students tend to mix the two notions quite easily ...
1) The CAUSE : There are several ways to express the cause :
* BECAUSE is the answer to the question : 'why'?
ex : Why didn't you come to his party ? Simply because he hadn't invited me ...
In spoken language, 'because' can be omitted: Why can't you go out ? I'm grounded !
** AS/SINCE :
ex : As he was very inexperienced, he didn't get the job he had applied for.
In formal language, (at the beginning of a sentence) 'AS' can be replaced by a present participle :
ex : As he was late/ Being late, he wasn't allowed in.
ex : Since you refuse to show your ID, you won't be let into this club !
*** FOR + ing
ex : He was punished for cheating. (= because he had cheated!
2) The AIM : There are also several ways to express an aim, a purpose ...
* ...TO/ IN ORDER TO/SO AS TO are all answers to the question : ’What ... for ?’ or 'To do what ? (The second sentence isn't good English ...)
Ex : What did you ask him here for ? (I asked him here) to help you./ in order to help you./so as to help you.
You must understand that the French equivalent 'To do what ?' would not be heard in a 'normal conversation' in France or in England ... On the contrary, a French person would ask : « Why did you ask him to come ? » The answer they'll get will most certainly be ‘because I'd like him to help you!'. This isn't a question which means : 'for what cause' have you asked him to come ? 'but everyone understands : ' What did you ask him here for ?' Hence the confusion which exists in a large number of French students' minds, between 'cause ' and 'aim'...
When he wants to express one of these two ideas, a Frenchman has a 'handicap' ... First, he'll have to wonder : 'Do I mean : 'For what reason?' (Why ?=> because) or 'to do what' ? ‘What … for ?’ => ’In order to …’ . Other people, in other languages may experience the same ambiguity to face ... The solution is (theoretically ... ) very easy :'Think English ! ' Don't translate your own language when you want to speak English !' If only learners did that ...
What is sure is that French speakers must question their meanings. It's really disturbing for students (who insist on translating ) when they don't have enough time to think while speaking ...
AN AIM IN THE NEGATIVE is expressed in the same way, using : ... NOT TO/IN ORDER NOT TO/ SO AS NOT TO.
ex : I tiptoed out of the room so as not to wake up the baby ...
** SO THAT ou IN ORDER THAT will also express an additional nuance of 'possibility' (so that he can help you ... ), in order to make the action in progress easier.
ex : I left the car keys so that you might not have to walk back home in the dark ! (formal language)
*** It is also quite frequent to express the aim, using a complete infinitive proposition starting with for :
ex : I left the car keys here for you to be able to go home safely tonight !
ex: He's brought this video for you to see the show though you were too sick to attend !
In the following exercise, you will have to be very careful, making the good choice between the two notions and the expressions they demand ...
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