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Thread: Is to / Was to

  1. languagemonster's Avatar

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    #1

    Is to / Was to

    Can you explain to me the structures of; is to, was to??


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    #2

    Re: Is to / Was to

    It would help if you could give an example of "is to" in use. I'll give you an example, but I'm not sure it's responsive to your question:

    Gas is to an engine as electricity is to a motor.

    Here we're saying that gas provides the energy to operate an engine, and electricity provides the energy to operate a motor.

    Regards

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Is to / Was to

    Another use of 'is to' is to (!) express a definite future:

    Prince Charles is to be the next king of England. Well.... You see the point anyway.

    The simple past can be used to express a similar relation in the past, this time referring to something that did happen:

    Years later, in front of the firing squad, Aurelio Buendia was to remember ....

    b

    PS 'is to' can also express a formal requirement:
    All applicants are to submit a CV and two references
    Last edited by BobK; 01-Nov-2006 at 22:43. Reason: Added PS

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    #4

    Re: Is to / Was to

    Are there any differences between that form "is to" for future and the future with "will", I mean, is any of them more colloquial or something?

    For example, could you translate García Márquez's sentence as "Years later, in front of the firing squad, Aurelio Buendía would remember ..." And, by the way, would it be correct to say "opposite" the firing squad. I mean, I thought the difference between "in front of" and "opposite" was the fact that the items implied were facing each other, isn't that right?

  3. retro's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Is to / Was to

    [quote=BobK;125615]Another use of 'is to' is to (!) express a definite future:

    Prince Charles is to be the next king of England. Well.... You see the point anyway.

    "is to" in your example, suggests arrangement? It is not equivalent to "will", right?

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Is to / Was to

    Quote Originally Posted by ana2005 View Post
    Are there any differences between that form "is to" for future and the future with "will", I mean, is any of them more colloquial or something?

    Neither's more colloquial; it's not a question of register. As retro suggested, 'is to' expresses an arrangement.

    Prince Charles is to be the next king of England.
    Are you sure he will?
    Well... maybe not.


    Quote Originally Posted by ana2005 View Post
    For example, could you translate García Márquez's sentence as "Years later, in front of the firing squad, Aurelio Buendía would remember ..."
    (in fact, for all I know, that's the way the published translator chose.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ana2005 View Post
    And, by the way, would it be correct to say "opposite" the firing squad. I mean, I thought the difference between "in front of" and "opposite" was the fact that the items implied were facing each other, isn't that right?
    In fact the only way to have anything opposite a firing squad be would to have two firing squads facing each other (which'd never happen - except in my fevered imagination )


    Quote Originally Posted by retro View Post
    ...

    "is to" in your example, suggests arrangement? It is not equivalent to "will", right?
    , it's not.

    b

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