Compound Sentence

How to Express Aims: …ために, …に, …のに, and …ように

In order to move: 引っ越すため

Last time, you learned how to express reasons, e.g. “おとうとんでいたから、オーストラリアを旅行りょこうしました (I traveled to Australia because my younger brother lived there).” Then, if you would like to say “I traveled to Australia to meet my younger brother,” what should you say? The meanings are similar, but the sentence patterns that you use should be different. In this lesson, you will learn how to express aims.

Explanation for Usages of …ために, …に, …のに, and …ように

Table of Contents
…ために: Aims, Benefits, and Causation
…に: Aims of Motion
…のに: Aims of Use
…ように: Ideal Situations

In English, you express aims by using expressions such as “to do” and “for doing.” In Japanese grammar, aims can be further divided, and you need to use different sentence patterns depending on the usage. Let’s check them one by one.

…ために: Aims, Benefits, and Causation

[私は] 海外旅行かいがいりょこうをするために 貯金ちょきん(した / しました)
[Topic / Subject] Aim Verb
[I] saved money to travel abroad.

ために is one of the most basic sentence patterns to express aims like “to do,” and “in order to do.” The conjugation is to attach the plain (dictionary) form to ために. Subjects should be the same in the aim part and the verb part, that is to say, the same person saved money and will travel abroad in the above example. There is another important point; volitional verbs should be used.

ケンにためにほんへ(た / ました)。
[I] came to Japan to meet Ken.
しゃになるためにべんきょうして(いる / います)。
[I] am studying to be a doctor.
[I] want to discuss [it] to understand properly.

We sometimes drop に, but the meaning will remain the same.

ケンにためほんへ(た / ました)。
しゃになるためべんきょうして(いる / います)。

If you use ために with nouns, you can express benefits like “for” and “for the sake of.” With this function, you need to attach の to nouns.

じゅんのためにしょを(った / いました)。
[I] bought a dictionary for preparations.
どものためにはたらいて(いる / います)。
[I] am working for [my] child.
安全あんぜんのため、ルールを(まもろう / まもりましょう)。
Let’s keep the rule for the sake of safety.

ために is an expression for aims, but you can express causation in the following two situations: (1) if subjects in the aim and the verb part are different and (2) If non-volitional verbs, nouns or adjectives are used in the aim part. There are two points where you need to take care. Firstly, it sounds more natural when you drop に. Secondly, you cannot use ために when you make requests, invitations, commands, and such expressions

台風たいふうため、おみせやすみ(だ / です)。
The shop is close because the typhoon came.
たい調ちょうわるため会社かいしゃけ(ない / ません)。
[I] cannot go to office because [I’m] under the weather.

In this context, ため(に) is interchangeable with から and ので.

台風たいふう からので、おみせやすみ(だ / です)。
たい調ちょうわる からので会社かいしゃけ(ない / ません)。


…に: Aims of Motion

[わたしは] ランチをべに / きます
[Topic / Subject] Aim of Motion Verb
[I] will go to lunch.

The function is to express aims of motion and thus you use …に with verbs which indicate motion such as 行く, 来る, and 帰る. The conjugation is to utilize the polite form and attach に instead of ます. If objects in the aim part imply actions, you can directly attach に to it without verbs, i.e. ランチ implies “to eat” so you can say both “ランチを食べに行く” and “ランチに行く.”

ものしにた / ました)。
[I] came [here] to do shopping.
いえやすみにかえった / かえりました)。
[I] went home to take a rest.
とうさんはごとった / きました)。
[My] father went to work.

…ために can express almost the same thing, though …に sounds more natural.

ものするためにた / ました)。
いえやすむためにかえった / かえりました)。
とうさんはごとをするためにった / きました)。

…のに: Aims of Use

スマートフォンは 音楽おんがくくのに 便べん(だ / です)
Topic / Subject Aim of Use Predicate
Smartphones are useful to listen to music.

The function is to express aims of use and thus you often use …のに with predicates which indicate use like “使う: to use,” and “役に立つ: helpful,” “必要: necessary,” and “便利: useful.” The conjugation is just to attach the plain (dictionary) form to のに. Likewise …に, if objects in the aim part imply actions, you can express the same thing by means of attaching に without verbs (*Look at the first example below).

くるま通勤つうきん使つかって(いる / います)。
As for the car, [I] use [it] for the commute.
パソコンはごとをするのに必要ひつよう(だ / です)。
(A) PC is necessary for working.
なべはおちゃつくのにやくに(つ / ちます)。
Pots are helpful for making tea.

You can replace のに with ために, too.

くるま通勤つうきんのために使つかって(いる / います)。 
パソコンはごとをするために必要ひつよう(だ / です)。
なべはおちゃつくためにやくに(つ / ちます)。

…ように: Ideal Situations

[わたしは] けんちないように べんきょう(した / しました)
[Topic / Subject] Ideal Situation Verb
[I] studied so as not to fail the exam.

ように expresses aims by describing ideal situations. The conjugation is to attach the plain (dictionary) form to ように. If the ように part is affirmative, non-volitional verbs should be used. If the ように part is negative, both volitional and non-volitional verbs can be used.

あめようにいのった / いのりました)。
[I] prayed so that it rains.
[I] want to become able to speak Japanese.
健康けんこうになるように牛乳ぎゅうにゅうんで(いる / います)。
[I’m] drinking milk so as to be healthy.

Note: you CANNOT replace ように (ideal situations) with ために (aims). They are different. Only ように allows you to do two things; you use non-volitional verbs, which includes the potential form, and you set different subjects in the ように part and the verb part. For reference, only ために allows you to use volitional verbs when the aim part is affirmative.

あめようにいのった / いのりました)。
=> Correct
雨が降るために(祈った / 祈りました)
=> Wrong
ケンに会うように日本へ(来た / 来ました)
=> Wrong
ケンにためにほんへ(た / ました)。
=> Correct

Let us clarify the usage to make sure. Even though you use volitional verbs in the affirmative aim part, you can still use ように if the subject in the aim part is different from the one in the verb part.

どもがたくさんべんきょうするように、いいつくえを(った / いました)。
[I] bought a good desk so that [my] child studies a lot.
子供がたくさん勉強するために、いい机を(買った / 買いました)
=> Wrong! Because you use two different subjects.

Be careful. There are some verbs which can be both volitional and non-volitional, e.g. “なる: to become” and “忘れる: to forget.” In that case, ように and ために are often interchangeable.

健康けんこうになるように牛乳ぎゅうにゅうんで(いる / います)。
健康けんこうになるために牛乳ぎゅうにゅうんで(いる / います)。


  1. …ために is used with the plain form and expresses aims, benefits, and causation.
  2. …に is used with stems of the polite form and expresses aims of motion.
  3. …のに is used with the plain form and expresses aims of use.
  4. …に and …のに are interchangeable with ために.
  5. …ように is used with the plain form and expresses ideal situations.

As you can see, ために is the most versatile word. Thus, if you understand the difference between ために and ように, you will be able to properly express your aims in Japanese. Next, you will learn one of the most important expressions in compound sentences: conditionals.

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