Clauses of Purpose in Spanish
Clauses of purpose in Spanish or final sentences are a type of adverbial subordinate clauses that introduces the purpose or objective expressed by the action of the main verb. The information they provide answers the question ¿para qué?
For example: Reservo clases en Spanishviaskype.com para mejorar mi español = ¿Para qué estudias español? Para mejorar mi español.
To form final clauses we can use either the infinitive or the subjunctive. If the subject is the same in both clauses, or if we are dealing with an impersonal sentence, we use the infinitive. On the other hand, if the subjects of the verbs are different, we use the structure que + subjunctive.
- Infinitive with the same subject = Para aprender (tú) español, debes (tú) practicar mucho.
- Infinitive in impersonal sentence = Para aprender (anyone) español, hay que practicar (anyone) mucho.
- Que + subjuntive with different subjects = Para que aprendas (tú) español, puedo (yo) ayudarte.
Clauses of Purpose in Spanish: Most Common Connectors
To introduce clauses of purpose in Spanish we can use some of the following connectors:
- Para: it is the most general connector and can be used in any register. In addition to introducing subordinate propositions, it can also accompany nouns.
Hoy tenemos legumbres para comer / para la comida.
- Con el objeto/propósito/objetivo de, con la intención/finalidad de, a fin de: they are mainly used in the formal register. Unlike para, they are used to refer to actions exclusively. For example:
Le escribimos esta carta con el objeto de regularizar su situación laboral.
Le ofrecemos nuestra ayuda a fin de que pueda obtener un mayor ahorro.
Other Connectors of Purpose in Spanish
Next, we are going to present other connectors that introduce clauses of purpose in Spanish. These are less general and offer secondary nuances such as cause or mode.
- A: it’s used with some verbs of motion, specifically those that indicate direction (venir, ir, entrar, salir, subir, bajar…) For example:
Vamos a la tienda a comprar.
Tu padre está en el sótano. Baja a que te dé el martillo.
- Que: we mainly use it in spoken language to express the purpose of a request or order. It is always formed with the subjunctive:
Estudia un poco esta noche, que no suspendas el examen.
- Por(que): in addition to the final meaning, they also have a causative nuance. For example:
Voy a ver las noticias por saber qué ha pasado hoy.
Te he comprado algunas cosas porque tengas algo para cenar.
Both the connector que and por(que) can introduce causative sentences. However, unlike clauses of purpose in Spanish, causative sentences are formed in the indicative. We recommend you to read the article about adverbial clauses of cause in Spanish and their main connectors to learn more about this topic. Remember that Spanishviaskype.com offers you a section of free grammar resources to learn or review grammar contents adapted by levels.
- De modo/forma/manera que: they introduce a purpose with a nuance of manner. They are always formed with subjunctive. For example:
Usamos Skype de modo que los estudiantes aprendan más cómodamente.
- No sea/vaya a ser que: they are used in the colloquial register to emphasize the fear that something will come true. They are equivalent to para que no. In addition, they also offer a causal and probability nuance. They could be substituted for porque quizás. For example:
Dame la mano antes de cruzar, no sea que te atropelle un coche (para que no te atropelle / porque quizá te atropelle).
We hope this free grammar resource has clarified the use of clauses of purpose in Spanish. However, don’t stop here. We encourage you to reserve classes with us to put what you’ve learned into practice.