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Lesson 6 - Saving the rainforests

Did you know that on one tree, there was found to be more than fifty different species of ants!

What does "to be" mean in the above context? I guess the context has the same meaning without "to be". I wonder I am right or not?

  • I need some simple explanations and examples in plain English to understand better The answer of Rikki .I wonder if someone may help. – AR AM Feb 8 '17 at 16:11
  • "to be" really means "to be present". Simply removing "to be" makes it sound like it's about the finding of the many species, but the point is that there were so many. – Jim Balter Apr 7 '17 at 8:22
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The grammar does not flow correctly without "to be".

Did you know that on one tree, there was found more than fifty different species of ants!

does not make sense.

It would need to be rearranged to:

Did you know that on one tree, more than fifty different species of ants were found!

though this has emphasis on the finding 50 species being the important verb, whereas the original sentence is emphasising the existence of 50 species.

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