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  1. Farbauti's Avatar
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    #1

    Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Hello Forum,

    I have found the following fragment in a fairy-tale book

    " (...) And she thought it was very dangerous to have the mallet there, for she said to herself: 'Suppose him an me was to be married, and we was to have a son, (...) "

    As you can assume I have a problem with the bolded parts. Maybe it is ancient speak, because the fairy-tale is from the 19th century. I searched in the Internet and found explanations like "it can express futurity in the past". But for the woman who is talking it isn't the past, is it?

    An alternative for the sentence could be 'Suppose him and me would be married (..)', couldn't it?

    Thank you for your help
    Last edited by Farbauti; 12-Apr-2014 at 12:34. Reason: Added forgotten article

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    #2

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    The woman was talking to herself in her own dialect, and didn't care about using ungrammatical English.

    In standard English it would be 'Suppose he and I were to be married, and we were to have a son...'

  2. Boris Tatarenko's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

    I'm reading "Gulliver's travels" and I come across with such sentences every page. I bet it's because our books were written many centuries ago.
    Please, correct all my mistakes. I should know English perfectly and if you show me my mistakes I will achieve my dream a little bit faster. A lot of thanks.

    Not a teacher nor a native speaker.

  3. Farbauti's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Hello,

    "(...) would be married (...)" isn't correct?

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Quote Originally Posted by Farbauti View Post
    "(...) would be married (...)" isn't correct?
    No, "Suppose he and I would be married" would not be right - at least in BrE and AusE - unless it were part of a conditional statement such as, "Suppose he and I would be married if I became pregnant."

  5. Farbauti's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    One more question :)

    By the way I am often in trouble with the verb 'suppose', I think it is used here within the meaning of "Assume him and me was/were to be married (..)". Right?

    Now my question. Is it possible to omit the two words "to" and "be", I mean: "Suppose him an me were married, (...)"

    I googled that and a similar sentence and I got a couple of results, but that does not necessarily mean anything.

    Thank you for your help

  6. Raymott's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    You can't omit "to be" and have it mean the same thing.
    "Suppose he and I were married." = "Suppose we are married now".
    "Suppose he and I were to be married." = "Suppose that we planned to get married."
    Yes, you understand 'suppose'. You are entertaining a hypothetical proposition.

  7. Farbauti's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Hello Raymott,

    thanks a lot now it is clear to me!

  8. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Quote Originally Posted by Farbauti View Post
    Hello Raymott.

    Thanks a lot. Now it is clear to me!
    Don't forget to use correct capitalisation and punctuation in all your posts.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #10

    Re: Usage of "... was to be ... "

    Also, Farbauti, there is no need to write a new post to say Thank you. Simply click the Thank button on any posts you find helpful. It means that we don't have to open the thread again to read your new post and then find that it doesn't include any new information or an additional question.

    It saves everybody's time.

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