cause VS purpose

Hela

Senior Member
Tunisia - French
Dear teachers,

Would you please tell me what's the difference between an adverbial of purpose and an adverbial of cause?

Many thanks,

Hela
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Hela said:
    Dear teachers,

    Would you please tell me what's the difference between an adverbial of purpose and an adverbial of cause?

    Many thanks,

    Hela
    Without examples or context, I can only guess that they mean what they say they mean.

    An adverbial of purpose indicates purpose (for what reason/goal something is done):

    I wore a coat in order to remain warm.
    I worked with him to gain some experience in the field.

    An adverbial of cause indicates cause (why something is done):

    Because I drank enough liquids, I soon recuperated from my illness.
    Given that you are late once again, I will have to punish you.

    In Arabic: قصد and سبب :)
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    elroy said:
    An adverbial of purpose indicates purpose (for what reason/goal something is done):

    An adverbial of cause indicates cause (why something is done):
    Hmmm...I'm not sure I can parse the distinction between why and for what reason, but I do notice the word "goal" lurking there.

    Action moves away from its cause and toward its purpose.

    You may intend a purpose, which implies that the "cause" is a function of the means you chose in carrying out that purpose. Thinking along these lines muddies things, because of course some verbs denote thought and intentionality, others action.

    That's why (I agree) context is helpful. But in general I hope my improvised statement of principle applies-- here, I'll highlight it and change the font to red.
    .
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    foxfirebrand said:
    Hmmm...I'm not sure I can parse the distinction between why and for what reason, but I do notice the word "goal" lurking there.

    Action moves away from its cause and toward its purpose.

    You may intend a purpose, which implies that the "cause" is a function of the means you chose in carrying out that purpose. Thinking along these lines muddies things, because of course some verbs denote thought and intentionality, others action.

    That's why (I agree) context is helpful. But in general I hope my improvised statement of principle applies-- here, I'll highlight it and change the font to red.
    .
    You put it in much clearer words than I did. :)

    By "why something is done," I meant "why something happens," implying a certain inescapability; that is, an adverbial of clause simply explains the underlying factors that led to an action/event. One of purpose, on the other hand, suggests the specific goal that the execution of the action was intended to achieve.

    Hopefully, my Arabic translations removed all doubts. ;)
     

    Hela

    Senior Member
    Tunisia - French
    Hi, elroy

    Your second explanation is clearer than the first. But what I didn't understand was not the meaning of the words "cause" and "purpose" but rather how to determine that an expression is showing cause or purpose since we can ask the same kind of question for both "for what reason am I doing something?". So to translate the words into Arabic doesn't help either, I'm afraid...:confused:

    See you,
    Hela
     

    MiriamArg

    Senior Member
    River-Plate Spanish/English
    You can't ask the same question for both types of adverbial, Hela.

    An adverbial of cause will be the answer to "why?" or "for what reason?"
    An adverbial of purpose will answer the questions "what for?", "for what purpose?"

    The purpose is the expected objective or goal, while the cause is the reason for something.


    "I'm studying English because I love the English culture" (cause)
    "I'm studying English so that I can understand my Irish boyfriend" (purpose)

    Miriam
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    MiriamArg said:
    You can't ask the same question for both types of adverbial, Hela.

    An adverbial of cause will be the answer to "why?" or "for what reason?"
    An adverbial of purpose will answer the questions "what for?", "for what purpose?"

    The purpose is the expected objective or goal, while the cause is the reason for something.


    "I'm studying English because I love the English culture" (cause)
    "I'm studying English so that I can understand my Irish boyfriend" (purpose)

    Miriam
    Agreed. You also think about it this way.

    Cause: What caused/drove this action/event to occur?
    Purpose: What goal does this action/event have in mind?

    The examples Miriam gave fit perfectly.
     
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