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    #1

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

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

    Which word should I use? Thanks.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    The church was built in the countryside so that believers can / could go there to pray.

    Which word should I use? Thanks.
    "could"

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    #3

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

    Thanks, bhaisahab.

    Why is 'could' used when the people in the countryside had no church to pray at, but now they have?

  2. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

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

    It's just a harmonization of tenses: all are in the preterite: Can > could.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

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

    The whole sentence refers to the past - "The church was built ..." so the second half of the sentence uses "could" which is, to all intents and purposes, the simple past of "can".


    The church was built in the countryside so that believers could go there. (Past)
    The church stands in the countryside so that believers can go there. (Present)
    The church will be built in the countryside so that believers can go there. (Future)


    If you use "to be able to" instead of "can/could", you will see the difference:


    The church was built in the countryside so that believers were able to go there. (Past)
    The church stands/is in the countryside so that believers are able to go there. (Present)
    The church will be built in the countryside so that believers will be able/are able to go there. (Future)
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #6

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Tan Elaine View Post
    The church was built in the countryside so that believers could go there to pray.
    This sentence has appeared odd to me from the start. In what context are you using it, Tan Elaine?

    Believers in nearby towns would go to their own churches.

    If it was built for the convenience of believers who live in rural areas it should read

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

    In any case, believers can, and do, pray anywhere. We don't need a church to do it in.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

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

    I agree. When I first wrote my reply, I changed "so that the villagers" to "so that people nearby". I changed it back to the OP's original simply so that it didn't get confusing as far as what I was actually commenting on.

    It would make sense if a church was built to service local believers who couldn't reach another church but, as you say, no-one actually needs a church in order to practise their religion.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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