"In order to" – meaning, use and abuse

Here’s a really quick tip to make your writing more succinct: ditch the phrase 'in order to'. As in:

We need to hire a developer in order to complete the project.


In order to receive payment promptly, please submit your invoice by the end of the week.

Here, as is usual with this phrase, 'in order to' expresses the purpose of something.

But only one word in this three-word phrase is actually necessary: to.

‘In order to’ isn’t more precise. It doesn’t provide any extra meaning - just extra wordage for your reader to trawl through to get to the important words in the sentence.

Neither is ‘in order to’ more professional-sounding than ‘to’. The Cambridge Dictionary notes that the phrase ‘in order to’ is more common in writing than speaking, but as any professional writer will tell you, the best business writing is conversational.

So write like you speak and ditch ‘in order to’ for ‘to’.

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