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    • Join Date: Jul 2007
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    #1

    "it is to be hoped"

    I am wondering why the stucture like this "it is to be hoped" was used in the sentence below. Is it possible to replace it by just "it is hoped" without changing the meaning?

    It is to be hoped that our politicians will come together and agree a viable strategy for the world, which will allow future generations to enjoy the beauty and diversity of our blue planet.

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    #2

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    Hi Tvita

    To be is often omited in contructs such as this one:
    Ex: It is (to be) hoped that our ...


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #3

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    It is a little less specific. It allows an element of hope into the speculation.


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    #4

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    Is it possible that 'to be' has some modal meaning here? Say, desirability?


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    #5

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    That too

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    #6

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    Is it possible that 'to be' has some modal meaning here? Say, desirability?
    It could have; although, syntactically, 'to be' functions as a passive construct. And that construct sits inside another passive-like construct, the "it" expletive, wherein the subject is semantically empty:
    1. It is to be hoped (by...) that

    Implied subject: We hope that... /Our hope is that.../ It is our hope that...
    Speakers will omit 'to be' because its semantic contribution to the sentence (passive) is redundant: is hoped is as passive as is to be hoped.



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    #7

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    I agree. I'm just trying to verbalize the attitude that 'to be' is meant to express here. It sounds like 'all we can do is hope that politicians ...' . Does it?

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    #8

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    Hi Clark

    I have the same vague feeling as you do about this contruct; it is not my 'language', but more so my grandparents'.

    Digging deeper, though, I'd say that the linguistic purpose of 'to be hoped' is to leave the subject unstated, and therefore unknown; i.e., no name = no responsiblity or either a collective one, where the semantic or true subject (e.g., we/our) is unimportant or insignificant.

    It's almost like a subjunctive construct in that its purpose it to offer the speech participants, in this case the reader, a choice, not of an action, but of a subject. That is, who is the <experiencer> of 'hope'? Who is doing the hoping here? It's vague, right? The language of being vague is all to telling of subjunctive constructs.



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    #9

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    It's just occurred to me that 'to be' reveals a somewhat similar modal meaning in sentences like:
    He was to become my true-blue friend. (smth destined to happen)

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    #10

    Re: "it is to be hoped"

    Yes, I can see that too. Good example.

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