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Looking at the examples on WWWJDIC for using ために in sentences, I've noticed that whenever ために can follow a verb without the の particle, while の must be placed between ために and a preceding noun. For example, 「会社は生活するために十分な年金を与えた」does not have the の particle, while 「私達は世界の平和のために働いています」does. However, why is that the case? What function does の perform there?

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    That's a general rule in japanese, if you're going to connect a noun to something you need a particle, but after a verb you usually don't need one when using these words. That same thing happens when using ほうが、とき、ために, etc. 食べるほうがいい(it'd better to eat), オレンジのほうがいい(orange would be better) – Felipe Oliveira Jul 17 '17 at 14:50
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I've noticed that whenever ために can follow a verb without the の particle, while の must be placed between ために and a preceding noun. For example, 「会社は生活するために十分な年金を与えた」does not have the の particle, while 「私達は世界の平和のために働いています」does. However, why is that the case? What function does の perform there?

Right. One usage of the particle is to connect nouns together, very similar to English 'of'.

while の must be placed between ために and a preceding noun.
「私達は世界の平和のために働いています」

This の is connecting two nouns, 平和 and ため. It's just the way we Japanese naturally say things; two nouns cannot be connected without a particle unless it can be considered as a compound noun.

Like @Felipe Oliveira is saying up there, in the expressions like 昨日のほうが、風のように also, の is connecting two nouns together: ほう and よう are nouns.

I've noticed that whenever ために can follow a verb without the の particle,
「会社は生活するために十分な年金を与えた」does not have the の particle,

If you are ready for other usages of の, here, this ため can be replaced with の; の represents a noun, and makes a phrase or clause right before it a noun, just like English 'that'.

生活するに十分な年金.

It might be more formal with ために than the replacement with の, it's not necessarily informal either.

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