So that + would

Maricles

Member
Mexico-Spanish
I'm seeing how to express reasons and purposes with my group, so, according to our textbook, so that expresses purpose and it is often followed by can, could or would.

E.g. He bought himself a laptop, so that he could carry it with him everywhere.

What I can't think of, is an example of so that followed by would.
Could you help me?

Marisol
 
  • mamboney

    Senior Member
    English (USA)
    Maricles said:
    I'm seeing how to express reasons and purposes with my group, so, according to our textbook, so that expresses purpose and it is often followed by can, could or would.

    E.g. He bought himself a laptop, so that he could carry it with him everywhere.

    What I can't think of, is an example of so that followed by would.
    Could you help me?

    Marisol

    He took a shower so that he would smell better.
     

    James Stephens

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Could is the indicative mood of the verb, can; would is the subjunctive mood of the verb, will. The subjuntive is most often used to express a condition contrary to fact.

    Could (the indicitive of can)implies the ability to do something vs the inability to do something;
    Would (the subjunctive of will) implies the ability to do something that is or is not currently being done.

    Is the subtle difference important? The subjunctive mood is falling out of use in US. If in doubt, I would tell your students to use "could.

    I gave him the notebook so that he would use it (he either uses it or doesn't use it, but he has the ability to use it.)

    I gave him the notebook so he could use it (he was not able to use it before I gave it to him)

    I like that bath example example!

    He took a bath so that he could smell better (He was not able to smell better without the bath).

    He took a bath so that he would smell better (He may or may smell better, but at least hygenically speaking, he has the ability).
     
    Top