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  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    Smile be to infinitive

    I'm not sure why 'be to infinitive' is used and what is the meaing of "was to become" in the following example.. Is it used to talk about a future event?
    If so, is it possible to change 'was to become' to 'would become'?
    If it isn't impossible, what is the difference them?
    "was to become" is used to especially imply the boy's destiny, isn't it?

    <There was born in Scotland a poor little boy who was to become one of the world's great men.>

    I just know that 'to infinitive' is used to talk about formal, official arrangements, formal instructions and to give orders and future events.
    Is it right? Do I understand properly?

    Thanks in advance.


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    #2

    Re: be to infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I'm not sure why 'be to infinitive' is used and what is the meaing of "was to become" in the following example.. Is it used to talk about a future event?
    If so, is it possible to change 'was to become' to 'would become'?
    If it isn't impossible, what is the difference them?
    "was to become" is used to especially imply the boy's destiny, isn't it?

    <There was born in Scotland a poor little boy who was to become one of the world's great men.>

    I just know that 'to infinitive' is used to talk about formal, official arrangements, formal instructions and to give orders and future events.
    Is it right? Do I understand properly?

    Thanks in advance.
    It is not an infinitive; it is a modal idiom, is "be to". We 'use it to express destiny.
    "would become" is fine too.

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    #3

    Re: be to infinitive

    Hey Svartnik, that's not up to your usual standard!!

    'was' is a linking verb, (to become one of the world's great men) an adjectival phrase describing who. As far as I know there is no phrasal verb 'be to'. Nor such a 'modal idiom', whatever that may be.

    Replace 'was' with 'would become' if you like, another linking verb.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Cool Re: be to infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Hey Svartnik, that's not up to your usual standard!!

    'was' is a linking verb
    But not in this instance, Pedroski. Here, it's an auxiliary verb taking the to-infinitive.

    He was one of the world's great men.
    He became one of the world's great men.
    He would become one of the world's great men.
    He was to become one of the world's great men.


    linking verb vs auxiliary verb

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    #5

    Re: be to infinitive

    Would you perhaps like to think about that and reconsider?? Maybe draw a diagram of the sentence??

  3. engee30's Avatar
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    #6

    Cool Re: be to infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Would you perhaps like to think about that and reconsider?? Maybe draw a diagram of the sentence??
    Why should I? That's exactly what my OxfordŽ Dictionary says.

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    #7

    Re: be to infinitive

    Hey Svartnik, don't be so self-derprecating!

    Engee, it does not say anywhere in your OED that 'was to become' is a verb form. They are good at English in Oxford! Consider the following which may help you grasp the concept:

    something = (to do the dishes) It is a noun phrase
    Something as object:
    They want (something).
    Something as subject:
    (Something) was considerate.

    'was become' is very antiquated and would be considered wrong nowadays. Robert Oppenheimer, after watching the explosion of the first atomic bomb at Alamogordo quoted a line from the Bhagavad Gita,
    " I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds" But this is a translation from the Sanskrit and over 4000 years old.


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    #8

    Re: be to infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    Engee, it does not say anywhere in your OED that 'was to become' is a verb form.

    'was become' is very antiquated and would be considered wrong nowadays.
    Hello Pedr,

    "was to become" is a finite verb phrase. "was to" is the operator followed by the main verb.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post
    'was become' is very antiquated and would be considered wrong nowadays.
    Who is speaking about 'was become'? I do not and eng does not.

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    #9

    Cool Re: be to infinitive

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedroski View Post

    Engee, it does not say anywhere in your OED that 'was to become' is a verb form. They are good at English in Oxford!
    Are you checking on me? That OxfordŽ Dictionary of mine cannot be wrong as for the form of the verb be in that meaning, for, as you pointed this out, they are good at English in Oxford. Check it out, mate.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    #10

    Re: be to infinitive

    Time for a beer, but I'll leave you with this, please take a look and see if you can tell me what is what, ie, subject verb object or any other bits you'd care to name.

    To know me is to love me.

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