in order that

in order that
in order that
1. Historically, in order that has been rather more restricted in terms of the grammatical construction that follows than has the rather less formal alternative so that. Fowler, writing in 1926, regarded use of the subjunctive (in order that nothing be forgotten) as archaic, use of the modal verbs may and might as the regular construction (in order that nothing might be forgotten), the use of shall and should as permissible in some contexts (in order that nothing should be forgotten), and the use of can, could, will, and would as ‘undoubtedly wrong’ (in order that nothing can be forgotten / in order that nothing would be forgotten / etc.). It is doubtful whether Fowler was correct in terms of usage even in his own day. Today, with electronic language data available to check our intuitions about language, the facts are
(1) that the subjunctive is increasingly used and is therefore by no means archaic, and
(2) the modal verbs, including can and could, shall and should (though rarely will and would), as well as may and might, are freely used when the context calls for them, although the could, should, and would forms are more common in each pair, and
(3) that in order to avoid these problems many people are resorting to the alternative in order for…to…(see 4 below).
2. Examples of usage over the last eighty years or so will put the grammatical range in perspective:
(may, might)

• Stabilisation of wages is an urgent necessity in order that the industry might enjoy continued peace —World's Paper Trade Review, 1922

• A suitable block-and-tackle is essential in order that the boat may be hauled far enough up the shore to be safe from ‘rafting’ ice —Discovery, 1935

• He always insisted upon a certain reserve in order that the artist might give ‘full measure’ on the stage —Dancing Times, 1990

• The staff is committed to developing a genuine curiosity and love of learning in order that every child may be able to stretch and build upon their talents —Croydon Guardian, 2004.

(can, could)

• The motor should be wound up fully for each record played, in order that the turntable can rotate at its normal and even speed —P. A. Scholes, 1921

• The Telematics Programme…looks at users' needs and requirements in order that entire networks can talk to each other ready for 1992 —Practical Computing, 1990

• Poor old cockerel…was also going to be ‘cut’ later that day in order that an offering could be made once more to Muniapa, God of the forest —fishing website, BrE 2002 [OEC].

(shall, should)

• In order that he shall be said to make a moral judgement, his attitude must be ‘universalisable’ —A. E. Duncan-Jones, 1952

• He faces obstinately towards the future rather than the past, resolving to unmask the worst in order that it should not come to pass —C. Welch, 2001

• A new trial of Mooney should be had in order that no possible mistake shall be made in a case where a human life is at stake —history website, BrE 2003 [OEC].


• I can only hope that such methodology will be adopted by teachers new to media work in order that learning about the media does not become a bookcover here and a story-board there with little attempt at a coherent conceptual context —Times Educational Supplement, 1990.


• It is necessary to overcome this stability in order that a chemical reaction take place —Chemical Reviews, 1952

• In order that he be regularly scared by Authority, he should present himself every six months to the Service's Legal Adviser —J. Le Carré, 1989

• Another recent development in fouling is where the opposition is fouled well away from the scoring zone and each subsequent foul is perpetrated by a different player in order that yellow cards be avoided —news website, IrishE 2003 [OEC].

3. Use of the subjunctive is often awkward in negative constructions because the modal verb do is not available, but negative examples are found, mostly in AmE but occasionally also in BrE:

• Paulin vacillates in his claims in order that he not have to meet the responsibilities of arguing any of them out —London Review of Books, 1990

• We asked him to remove the pictures that violated trademark, in order that we not be sued —weblog, AmE 2005.

4. When the subject of the purpose clause is the same as that of the main clause, the alternative and simpler expression in order to is available (see in order to). When it is not the same (as in most of the examples given above), the looser construction in order for…to…has become much more common (see in order for).

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • in order that — conjunction : that invite you in order that you may see for yourself * * * in order that formal phrase so that something can happen Regular checks are required in order that safety standards are maintained. Thesaurus: for a particular purpose …   Useful english dictionary

  • in order that — conjunction So that; I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it …   Wiktionary

  • in order that — formal so that something can happen Regular checks are required in order that safety standards are maintained …   English dictionary

  • in order that — ► in order for (or that) so that. Main Entry: ↑order …   English terms dictionary

  • in order that — so that, in order to …   English contemporary dictionary

  • in order that — idi so that; to the end that …   From formal English to slang

  • in order that — See: SO THAT(1) …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • in order that — See: SO THAT(1) …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • in order that — conjunction Date: 1711 that 2a(1) …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • in\ order\ that — See: so that(1) …   Словарь американских идиом

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