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"to this end"

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 20, 2006

In Reply to: "to this end" posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 20, 2006

: : Is the phrase "to this end" really an acceptable alternative to "for this purpose" or is it one of those things that have crept into our language?

: It crept into our language several centuries ago! "End" was already being used to mean "accomplishment of a goal or objective" in Middle English. To my mind "to this end" is not quite equivalent to "for this purpose", as "end" carries a connotation of achievement, of ultimate result, which "purpose" does not. (VSD)

It is not only the range of phrases that's interesting, but also the range of prepositions used. To this end / For this purpose / With this object. Victoria is right to point out that "for this purpose" is not precisely fungible with "to this end," although I think "with this object" probably is. There is obviously an area of overlap, but people using these terms can usually pick one without a period of dithering.