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I can't seem to distinguish afin que from pour que, or from afin de. When are these different conjunctions and preposition used?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

All have roughly the same purpose, they indicate a goal/reason (pour) or a finality (afin), but they aren't grammatically equivalent. One must use the following constructions:

  • afin de / pour + [verb in infinitive form]

  • afin que / pour que + [proposition with a conjugated verb (subjonctive)]

  • pour + [noun]

Examples:

Afin qu'il s'améliore.
Pour qu'il s'améliore.

Afin de résoudre le problème.
Pour résoudre le problème.

Pour la gloire.

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By the way, “de façon à”, “de manière à”, “histoire de”, “dans le but de” work exactly like “afin de”; and “de façon (à ce) que”, “de manière (à ce) que”, “de sorte que”, “histoire que” work exactly like “afin que”. –  Stéphane Gimenez Aug 22 '12 at 0:24
    
It is literally going to take years to remember all of those in a natural way. –  Aerovistae Dec 1 '13 at 22:04
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