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Otherwise, the facilities built would be lying idle and the purpose of improving public health would be in vain.

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May I ask if this sentence is correct and idiomatic? Many thanks!

closed as off-topic by user140086, Chenmunka, TimLymington, Dan Bron, Lawrence Mar 10 '16 at 12:27

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  • 1
    Purpose means the reason, and in vain means for no result. I don't think you mean the purpose came to nothing, but rather some effort. Hard to say without more context. – deadrat Mar 10 '16 at 9:04
  • Hello, this is the context: Thus, in addition to increasing the number of sports facilities, it is also important to advocate to people and remind them of the importance of frequent participation in sports activities. Otherwise, the facilities built would be lying idle and the purpose of improving public health would be in vain. – nonature Mar 10 '16 at 9:09
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    "purpose" isn't the right word to use here, as people tend not to say the reason for something was in vain. I think "the effort(s) to improve public health would be in vain" might work better. – John Clifford Mar 10 '16 at 9:19
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. Proofreading questions ("Is this correct?", "Are there any mistakes?") or critique requests are off-topic unless a specific source of concern in the text is clearly identified. Please make sure you take the tour and visit our help center for additional guidance and edit your question accordingly. – user140086 Mar 10 '16 at 9:31
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This sentence is suggesting that if people don't use the facilities then the entire concept (the "purpose") of improving public health would be in vain. This is obviously too much responsibility to lay on a single sports centre!

You would write

"Otherwise, the facilities would be lying idle and this attempt to improve public health would be in vain."

which means that it's only this attempt to improve public health (the building of this sports centre) which has failed, rather than the entire "purpose".

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