For All Intents and Purposes | Meaning & Examples

For all intents and purposes is an expression meaning ‘essentially’ or ‘in effect’. It’s used to say that something has the same outcome or result as something else.

Examples: For all intents and purposes in a sentence
For all intents and purposes, this is an introductory course.

The warring sides had, for all intents and purposes, agreed to a ceasefire.

The old laptop is, for all intents and purposes, useless.

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For all intensive purposes or for all intents and purposes

‘For all intensive purposes’ is often mistakenly used instead of for all intents and purposes, but it is incorrect and best avoided. The mistake results from people mishearing the phrase.

‘Intents’ is used as a noun meaning ‘intentions’ or ‘designs’ in this expression. ‘Intensive’ is an adjective meaning ‘highly concentrated’ or ‘requiring great effort’, neither of which would make sense in this expression.

Examples: For all intensive purposes vs for all intents and purposes
  • The construction of the new theater is, for all intents and purposes, complete.
  • The construction of the new theater is, for all intensive purposes, complete.

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To all intents and purposes

To all intents and purposes is a less common version of the expression for all intents and purposes. While to all intents and purposes begins with the preposition ‘to’ instead of ‘for’, it has the same meaning as for all intents and purposes, and they can be used interchangeably.

Examples: To all intents and purposes in a sentence
To all intents and purposes, the company is bankrupt.

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If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.

Frequently asked questions

What is a synonym of ‘for all intents and purposes’?

Some synonyms of for all intents and purposes are:

  • Effectively
  • Essentially
  • In effect
  • In essence
  • More or less
  • Practically
  • Virtually
What does for all intensive purposes mean?

‘For all intensive purposes’ is a common mispronunciation and misspelling of the phrase for all intents and purposes.

As ‘intensive’ is an adjective meaning ‘highly concentrated’ or ‘requiring great effort’, it doesn’t make sense in this expression. Instead, you need the plural noun ‘intents’, meaning ‘intentions’ or ‘designs’.

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Ryan, E. (2022, December 02). For All Intents and Purposes | Meaning & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 22 February 2024, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/definition/for-all-intents-and-purposes-meaning/

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Eoghan Ryan

Eoghan has a lot of experience with theses and dissertations at bachelor's, MA, and PhD level. He has taught university English courses, helping students to improve their research and writing.