use something to devastating ends

felicity.zyy

Member
Chinese
Hi, I heard a sentence from a podcast that confuses me. Here is the sentence: Buying oil supports autocratic countries that use these revenues to devastating ends.
In this sentence, we have the structure “<use something to something>” which seems a bit strange to me. I looked up the dictionary and it showed the structures “<use something to do something>” or "<use something for something>”. So I want to know if this sentence uses the wrong preposition or if it is just an exception.

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  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    So I want to know if this sentence use the wrong preposition or if it is an exception.
    It is not the wrong preposition, and it is not an exception. You can roughly understand to = towards; with the intention of; for the purpose of.

    The phrase "to devastating ends." comprises {preposition + noun phrase} -> {preposition + noun, noun phrase, noun clause, verbal noun, gerund} = modifier.
     
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