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I know they all mean "in order to" and similar translations, sometimes however I see that some are used instead of others. Also it's not clear if ために and ため have different usages.

I know that ように is used with potential and negative forms, but I'm not too sure.

hope someone can clarify!

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I think the best way to explain this is with some examples

ため

  • 国のために戦う ➝ Fight for one's country
  • チケットを買うために3時間並んだ ➝ I lined up for three hours to buy tickets.
  • 子供のための公演 ➝ A performance for children

"ため" is usually used in the context of someone doing something for someone else, or doing something in order to accomplish something else.

ように

  • 再発しないように頑張ります ➝ I'll try not to let it happen again
  • 風邪を引かないようにちゃんと寝てください ➝ Get some sleep so you don't catch a cold.

"ように" is more indirect, often in the context of trying to do something as opposed to a direct cause and effect.

のに

  • TOEIC満点を取るのにやるべきこと ➝ Things you should do to get a perfect score on TOEIC
  • 大学に入るのに勉強の才能が必要だ ➝ You need to be good at studying in order to get into university.

"のに" usually is used when saying you need X in order to do Y (YするのにXが必要 or YするのにXしないといけない).

I'm not a Japanese teacher or anything so let me know if that's hard to understand (^_^).

  • チケットを買うために3時間並んでいた. – istrasci Mar 5 '15 at 16:03
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    @istrasci 並んだ is perfectly natural and grammatical. – l'électeur Mar 6 '15 at 16:25
  • @Ricky Kazuo Miller Nice explanation. Would have been even better if you had mentioned the informality of 「のに」 IMHO. – l'électeur Mar 6 '15 at 16:27
  • thanks for the answer. however, picking the first example, 国のために戦う -is it the same if I use 国のため戦う instead? Or there is an actual difference. – Draken Mar 6 '15 at 22:28
  • "ため" alone is the actual word, I think you're confusing "ため" and "ために" as two different things but "に" is just the particle that joins the two parts of the sentence, the same as "の" in "子供のための公演". In that case you need "に" for the sentence to be grammatically correct. Without it would be like saying "部屋入る" instead of "部屋に入る". Regarding the comment by @l'électeur I'm not sure "のに" is necessarily informal :/ – Ricky Kazuo Miller Mar 8 '15 at 8:57

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