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The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

 
 
Reply Sun 18 Aug, 2013 08:31 pm
The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

Which word should I use? I think it should be 'can' because the building of the church is for believers to pray. In the past they had no church.

Thanks.
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Type: Question • Score: 9 • Views: 5,319 • Replies: 85

 
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 19 Aug, 2013 12:15 am
@tanguatlay,

"could" works better with "was built".
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Aug, 2013 12:37 pm
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

Which word should I use? I think it should be 'can' because the building of the church is for believers to pray. In the past they had no church.


I wrote this so that you could [CAN is not possible here] understand that either COULD or CAN could/can be used in this example.

Deciding which one is best for any given situation would require a greater context/knowledge of speaker intent/nuance.

JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 20 Aug, 2013 12:38 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
"could" works better with "was built".


Much too simplistic, McTag, not to mention inaccurate.
dalehileman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Aug, 2013 01:41 pm
@tanguatlay,
Immediate reaction, Tang: It's "can" if the church is still there. With "could," it's equivocal
0 Replies
 
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Tue 20 Aug, 2013 03:15 pm
@JTT,

Quote:
Much too simplistic, McTag, not to mention inaccurate.


Another trademark de haut en bas sneer from JTT.

On the contrary, it's a lot more help than your wishy-washy piffling but verbose effort.
JTT
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 20 Aug, 2013 09:03 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
"could" works better with "was built".


Why?
McTag
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 02:32 am
@JTT,

When we say "was built so that" we are thinking about the intentions of the builders. That's in the past, so it makes perfect sense to hold that thought.
You'll notice I did not say that the use of "can" would be wrong, but the other sounds better and seems more logical.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 10:49 am
@McTag,
Quote:
When we say "was built so that" we are thinking about the intentions of the builders. That's in the past, so it makes perfect sense to hold that thought.


Such narrow thinking, McTag. All thoughts that exist have to be contained by the errant thoughts of one man. Preposterous.

The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

The passive has been used precisely because the builders were of little to no importance to the speaker/writer. There is no mention of the builders.


Quote:
You'll notice I did not say that the use of "can" would be wrong, but the other sounds better and seems more logical.


You've just proven your contention wrong, in a number of ways.

The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

One; COULD isn't a matching past tense that you think is needed. COULD means "so that it is possible for believers to go there to pray whenever they felt like it". It means the same thing as CAN. It's only a little more tentative, formal, deferential, softer, ... .

That sentence could/can be paraphrased as,

The church was built in the countryside for the express purpose of allowing believers to go there to pray.

tanguatlay
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 11:46 am
@JTT,
Hi JTT
Deciding which one is best for any given situation would require a greater context/knowledge of speaker intent/nuance.

Let me clarify what I am trying to say.

Many people in the countryside believe in Christianity, but they had no church to pray at. Later a church was built so that these villagers can have a place to pray at.

I hope I have provided enough context.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 11:52 am
@JTT,

That is your usual circumlocutory shite, if I may say so. Patronising, long-winded, unhelpful.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 03:10 pm
@tanguatlay,
Quote:
Let me clarify what I am trying to say.

Many people in the countryside believe in Christianity, but they had no church to pray at. Later a church was built so that these villagers can have a place to pray at.

I hope I have provided enough context.


You have, Ms Tan, and you have provided your own answer. 'can' is fine; it describes a real, pointed, definite description of what these people are able [=can] to do.

'could' does the same thing, except it is less pointed, more indefinite, but it still says the same thing as 'can',

Later a church was built so that these villagers are able to have a place to pray at.

0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Wed 21 Aug, 2013 03:18 pm
@McTag,
Quote:
That is your usual circumlocutory shite,


Notice how none of what you've written addressing the language issue, McTag.

Quote:
Patronising,


You've mistaken it for frankness and honesty.

Quote:
long-winded, unhelpful.


= I didn't understand. The concepts are beyond my ken.
McTag
 
  3  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 01:32 am
@JTT,

Quote:
I didn't understand. The concepts are beyond my ken.


If I understood you correctly, you were trying to inform us that "could" is not routinely used as a past tense of "can".
Good luck with that.
Pompous dolt.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 10:05 am
@McTag,
Your careful attention to the language issues is, aaaaaahh, once again noted.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 10:40 am
@McTag,
I really should have realized, long ago, McTag, just how dismal is your understanding of English when you defended that silly old boob, "I am in the business - EFL publishing - and I know these things!" Clary.

She didn't know **** from shinola when it comes [or 'came', which again shows you were mistaken in this thread] to language and she highlighted that with nearly every post in the pet peeves of English thread.

At least she had the brains to keep her mouth shut though it did take her awhile.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 12:17 pm
@tanguatlay,
tanguatlay wrote:

Hi JTT
Deciding which one is best for any given situation would require a greater context/knowledge of speaker intent/nuance.

Let me clarify what I am trying to say.

Many people in the countryside believe in Christianity, but they had no church to pray at. Later a church was built so that these villagers can have a place to pray at.

I hope I have provided enough context.

Since you're referring to a past action, "could" should be used instead of "can."
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 02:26 pm
@JTT,

Quote:
At least she had the brains to keep her mouth shut though it did take her awhile.


I can't let that pass. Clary left because she was sick and tired of blowhards like you, who think they know much, in reality understand much less, and seek to use their dried-up bits of knowledge as a weapon. You are a blot on the landscape.
McTag
 
  1  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 02:28 pm
@JTT,

Quote:
Your careful attention to the language issues is, aaaaaahh, once again noted.


I notice that you avoid revisiting your earlier mistake, preferring to attack me.

You really are a hypocritical piece of work.
JTT
 
  0  
Reply Thu 22 Aug, 2013 02:33 pm
@InfraBlue,
Quote:
Since you're referring to a past action, "could" should be used instead of "can."


What you wrote [past tense] is [present tense] simply false, Infra.

You wrote that in an attempt to show Ms Tan something.

Does 'show' have to be 'showed'.

I wrote simply false to illustrate to her that you are mistaken.

Just because 'wrote' is past tense, that doesn't mean 'illustrate' and 'are' have to be past tense.

There has been a silly notion that English has a Sequence of Tenses. I hope that that is not what you are relying on.
 

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