I keep having するため(には) corrected to するには when writing sentences, but how interchangeable are they and when should each be used?

Taking some Japanese sentences from Space ALC with my own English translations, is there some reason why one or the other is more natural/correct than the other in these examples for instance?

  • 仕事で成功するには、家で、喜んで私を助けてくれる夫が必要なのです。
    In order to succeed at my job, at home, it's essential for there to be a husband who happily helps me out.

  • 花粉症を予防するために、眼鏡やマスクをして花粉から目や鼻を守ることが重要です。
    In order to prevent hay fever, it's essential to wear glasses and a mask, and protect one's eyes and nose from pollen.

EDIT: Here's one example:

  • 日本語の言葉の背景色を灰色にするために、二つのグレイヴ・アクセント(``)を使う:

Which was corrected to:

  • 日本語の単語の背景色を灰色にするには、二つのバッククォート(``)を使う:
  • I hate the use of backquotes in Markdown for the purpose of painting the background in gray, but that is a separate matter…. – Tsuyoshi Ito Mar 22 '12 at 3:17
  • The backquotes also give a mono-spaced typewriter font; they are used on the programming stackexchanges for inline program code examples and identifiers. The gray background is a secondary effect, I think. – Kaz Mar 29 '12 at 0:41

The crucial difference is the absence vs. presence of the topic marker . Possibility of omitting ため or is dependent on this, and does not change the meaning so much, if any.

  • A (ため)には is used for conditionals. It does not necessarily mean that A actually happened, but it means that whatever to follow is a necessary condition for A to happen. (There may be alternative ways to do it, but provided that context, that is the only salient way.) "in hope that A may happen, ...".

仕事で成功する (ため)には 、家で、喜んで私を助けてくれる夫が必要なのです。
'If I were to succeed in my business career, I would need a husband at home who would be happy to help me.' (subjunctive)

花粉症を予防する (ため)には、眼鏡やマスクをして花粉から目や鼻を守ることが重要です。
'If you wanted to prevent hay fever, it is important to protect your eyes and nose from pollen by wearing glasses and a mask.

日本語の単語の背景色を灰色にする (ため)には、二つのバッククォート(``)を使う。
'If you wanted to change the background color of a Japanese word to gray, use two back quotes.

  • A ため(に) is used when you are sure that A will actually happen, or A already happened.

仕事で成功する ため(に)、家で、喜んで私を助けてくれる夫が必要なのです。
'I need a husband at home who would be happy to help me so that I can continue being successful in my business career.'  (indicative)

花粉症を予防する ため(に)、眼鏡やマスクをして花粉から目や鼻を守ることが重要です。
'It is important to protect your eyes and nose from pollen by wearing glasses and a mask in order to prevent (the on going) hay fever.

日本語の単語の背景色を灰色にする ため(に)、二つのバッククォート(``)を使う。
'In order to change the background color of a Japanese word to gray (right now), use two back quotes.

  • 1
    (1) You are right in that “A (ため) には” is for conditional statements, but the condition is A, not the rest of the sentence. In the first example, the rest is a condition for A to happen only because it has the form …が必要だ. (2) Your translation of the first example is a little off because the English sentence “If I wanted to …, I would need …” implies that the speaker actually does not want to succeed in her business career and therefore does not need such a husband, while the Japanese sentence does not have this implication. (By the way, it is “career,” not “carrier.”) – Tsuyoshi Ito Mar 22 '12 at 3:25
  • @TsuyoshiIto (1) I meant necessary condition, not sufficient condition. Necessary condition is the rest of the sentence. I understand that my use of the word was misleading as you point out. (2) I will try to improve my translation. – user458 Mar 22 '12 at 3:36
  • I seem to have loosely equated "tame" with the English word "sake" ("... tame-ni" -- "for the sake of ..."). "Anata-no tame-ni gambarimas": I will try my best for you (for your sake). Etc. Maybe it's not accurate, but it helps me somehow. – Kaz Mar 29 '12 at 0:50

You are right in that when translated to English, they both become “in order to,” but they have different meanings.

AするにはB means “If I/you/someone wants to do A, then B.” AするためにB means “B, and it is in order to do A.”

Sometimes the distinction between these two are not important. If it has been already established that A is desirable, then both constructs can be used without changing the meaning much. I think that the first two sentences in your question are such cases. However, it is not always the case. For example, consider a sentence “Press the red button to launch a missile.” This English sentence can potentially mean two very different things:

  • ミサイルを発射するには赤いボタンを押してください。 Press the red button if you want to launch a missile.
  • ミサイルを発射するために赤いボタンを押してください。 Press the red button; it is in order to launch a missile.
  • Your second sentence sounds... a bit awkward. I would wonder if it could be reworded as: "In order to launch a missile, press the red button." – dotnetN00b Mar 23 '12 at 3:12
  • @dotnetN00b: My English translation may be awkward, and a better translation would be appreciated. However, note that my point is that it is one of the two possible meanings of “Press the red button to launch a missile,” where the speaker is commanding/requesting the listener to press the red button unconditionally. I do not think that your translation distinguishes the two meanings. – Tsuyoshi Ito Mar 24 '12 at 16:23
  • "Awkward" English translations are actually helpful, because they indicate the Japanese syntax transformations, but papered over with English. (You can learn things about Japanese by having English conversations with Japanese people.) I already know the "perfect" English sentence, so it carries no useful meaningful information compared to the imperfect one. – Kaz Mar 29 '12 at 1:03

ため can be tricky, since it can indicate both a cause-effect relation and a (let's call it) method-purpose relation.

When used for method-purpose, ために(は) is used after the purpose. Other replies have explained this thoroughly.

When used for cause-effect, usually ため (without the に) is used after the cause. This might seem counter-intuitive, since the cause can seem more similar to the method than the purpose:

Since it rained, the game was postponed (not the game was postponed in order for it to rain)

Even more confusingly, even for cause-effect, ために (with the に) is sometimes used after the cause

The game was postponed due to rain

I think this is mostly used after noun phrases (i.e. in the form のために), and when the cause-effect relation is evident.


It does not really fit with your examples but in my opinion,

AをするにB ⇒ objective. That you have to go by B to do A is a fact. Not an opinion, not a goal, it is like that.

AをするためにB ⇒ subjective. Here, that you have to go by B to do A is not a natural truth. It sounds more like an advice, an opinion etc...

Maybe it could help to show us which of your sentences have been corrected.

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