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"In order to"

"In order to"

"In order to"

I recently saw a technical writing reference manual stating that the phrase "in order to..." is grammatically incorrect. I was very surprised to read that. I'm open to the idea that the phrase possibly contains some unnecessary words, filler words, etc. (when one could just say "to...," but grammatically incorrect? Isn't it more of a personal style choice?

I have used the phrase in the past as in the following example: "In order to reduce the chance of large foundation settlements, you will need to remove the soft soil at the subgrade level." I've found that those "filler words" serve the purpose of getting the listener's attention and the phrase tends to have the effect of highlighting what it is that I'm advising (and hopefully getting across to my clients).

Any thoughts?

RE: "In order to"


Know your audience. Give them what they want, be it filler or content. Don't argue with your pointy-heads when they insist on re-wording your terse prose to suit their style. Pointy-heads present to other pointy-heads and use a language that's not always optimal.

- Steve

RE: "In order to"

It is not grammatically incorrect. I am running into a lot of these grammar-Nazis that confuse maximum brevity with a law of nature. I was on a conference call with one last week and she simply would not listen to arguments that tone, context, and mood can make some seemingly superfluous words important. She had marked up one of my documents to the point that no one could finish reading it, it simply had no color or interest left. People pay me to write stuff because the stuff I write is occasionally readable, after she was finished "fixing" it there was no reason to bother reading it it was like reading the phone book, just a compilation of factoids.

The minimalist grammar-Nazis would have re-written that last paragraph as "Not grammatically incorrect, just wrong". To that I say "Wrong is in the eye of the beholder, and you should go away."

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. ùGalileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: "In order to"

I don't think it's grammatically correct, but you usually can replace "in order to" by "to" and not lose any meaning.

You can make a similar argument for replacing a phrase like "for the purpose of" with simply "for".

I favor the shorter and sweeter versions.

RE: "In order to"

I've been reading legal documents for the last few weeks and have sympathy for the shorter and sweeter argument (lawyers seem to get paid by the word with deducts for page count, my eyes are killing me). When you get too far into that argument you end up with only subjects, predicates, and objects and no life in the words. Sarcasm is impossible in the minimilist style, life without sarcasm sucks.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. ùGalileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: "In order to"

Good point, Dave.

RE: "In order to"

Language is far too precious (when used well) to allow business-speak to trample all over it.

An example:

To be, or not to be? That is the question—
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.


The question is: is it better to be alive or dead? Is it nobler to put up with all the nasty things that luck throws your way, or to fight against all those troubles by simply putting an end to them once and for all? Dying, sleeping—that’s all dying is—a sleep that ends all the heartache and shocks that life on earth gives us—that’s an achievement to wish for. To die, to sleep—to sleep, maybe to dream. Ah, but there’s the catch: in death’s sleep who knows what kind of dreams might come, after we’ve put the noise and commotion of life behind us. That’s certainly something to worry about. That’s the consideration that makes us stretch out our sufferings so long.



RE: "In order to"

Executive summary:
Life is pointless.

RE: "In order to"

i found this interesting ...

In order vs. So that

Purpose can be expressed with the prepositional phrase in orderolllowed by an infinitive clause or a that-clause (almost always with a modal may or might). The prepositional phrase in order is often omitted in informal speech.

The doctor operated in order to save his patient's life.
that he might save his patient's life.

A patient stays in order to get medical care.
that s/he might get medical care.

A nurse visits in order to check on a patient.
that s/he might check on a patient.

Purpose can be expressed with the preposition so folllowed by a that-clause (almost always with a modal can, will or may). Informally, that is omitted. (Do not place a comma before so because it changes the meaning to "result".)

The doctor operated so (that) he could save his patient's life.

A patient stays so (that) s/he can get medical care.

A nurse visits so (that) s/he can check on a patient.

Advanced note: (1) in traditional grammar, "to" is part of the infinitive verb form; however, in linguistic description, "to" is a subordinator related to the entire clause not just the verb (which is base form). (2) In current linguistic description, a preposition can be complemented by a wide variety of structures. Prep Complements.

Grammatical Functions: Subject – (Subj) the agent of the action; Predicate/Predicator – (Pred) the action or change in state; Complement – Comp – an element required to complete the subject and predicate; Adjunct – an element not required by the verb, a modifying word, phrase, clause; Supplement – a comment in the form of a word, phrase or clause that is loosely related to the central idea of the sentence.

Lexical Categories "Parts of Speech": N – noun / pronoun; NP – noun phrase; V – verb; VP – verb phrase; Adj – adjective; AdjP – adjective phrase; Adv – adverb; AdvP – adverb phrase; P – preposition; PP – prepositional phrase; Det – determiners – noun markers (e.g., articles, quantifiers, demonstratives, possessives); Subord – subordinator; Coord – coordinator; Interj – interjection; INF – infiniitve: GER – gerund; Nonfinite: an infinitive or gerund clause

so i don't think "in order to" is grammatically incorrect ...

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: "In order to"


Could you provide link rather than copy and paste?

It presents issue in much nicer manner

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: "In order to"


another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: "In order to"

From a non-english speaking individual's viewpoint, there is nothing gramatically wrong with in order to vs to.

Grammar is, still in my opinion, about constructs and not about style. Choosing between in order to and to is, did I mention that I do not speak English?, a question of style and not about grammar.

I also think that the two expressions convey slightly different meanings. In order to contains a certain amount of ambition while to is more direct.

Gunnar Englund
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

RE: "In order to"

Qu'est-ce que c'est excessive wordiness?

- Steve

RE: "In order to"

Ordrikedom, I would say.

Gunnar Englund
Half full - Half empty? I don't mind. It's what in it that counts.

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