houses built in those days <can't / couldn't> perform

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Evonne

New Member
Chinese- China
Do you say?
These houses that were built back in those days couldn't even perform the most basic functions.OR can't even perform the most basic functions.
Personally, it sounds to me that ' couldn't' is the right word to use here....
Thank you.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It depends on what you mean:

    ... couldn't even perform the most basic functions. = couldn't even perform the most basic functions at the time they were built/at the time we tested them.
    ... can't even perform the most basic functions. = can't even perform the most basic functions now.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    This is in the past, so I'd expect couldn't.

    However, there is an alternative view, because you've said these houses. So, are the houses still existing? If so, you might mean "they were OK then, but now they're in poor condition". So can't becomes possible.

    In brief, you neeed to clarify your thoughts.

    [Cross-posted with PaulQ.]
     

    Evonne

    New Member
    Chinese- China
    It depends on what you mean:

    ... couldn't even perform the most basic functions. = couldn't even perform the most basic functions at the time they were built/at the time we tested them.
    ... can't even perform the most basic functions. = can't even perform the most basic functions now.
    so can you say these houses that were built back in those days can't even perform the most basic functions.If you want to express that these houses still exist in thesedays bu t the basic facilities are now very backward and underdeveloped
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    A house isn't a machine and I find it strange to hear the expression "performing functions" used with it. Your second sentence sounds better. The houses built at that time didn't have facilities that are considered basic now.
     

    Evonne

    New Member
    Chinese- China
    A house isn't a machine and I find it strange to hear the expression "performing functions" used with it. Your second sentence sounds better. The houses built at that time didn't have facilities that are considered basic now.
    So should I just say the design of the houses is now outdated .which many of its facilities are now antiqued and are no longer be able to perform the most basic fuctions

    Would it sound better to your ears
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree with Barque. The idea of houses "performing functions" sounds strange to me:(.

    Welcome to the forums, Evonne!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Evonne, welcome to the forum. The answer to the grammar question is in post #2. The greater problem with your sentence, as Barque and Loob have said, is the meaning. It is most unusual to describe houses as performing basic functions, but the most basic functions of a house are to provide shelter from the wind and rain. Those functions require walls and a roof, and it doesn't matter how old they are - they can't be described as "antiquated".
     

    Evonne

    New Member
    Chinese- China
    This is fine. ("The" needs a capital T.)






    This suggests that those facilities used to be able to perform basic functions but can't do so anymore. I don't think that's what you want to say.




    This suggests that those facilities used to be able to perform basic functions but can't do so anymore. I don't think that's what you want to say.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for answering!
     

    Evonne

    New Member
    Chinese- China
    Evonne, welcome to the forum. The answer to the grammar question is in post #2. The greater problem with your sentence, as Barque and Loob have said, is the meaning. It is most unusual to describe houses as performing basic functions, but the most basic functions of a house are to provide shelter from the wind and rain. Those functions require walls and a roof, and it doesn't matter how old they are - they can't be described as "antiquated".
    Here I mean the fuction of the facilities inside the house..... by that I mea the toilet system.... ect or I might mean the furnitures inside the house are antiquated
    sorry... cause it was just an example
     
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