I have met the following sentence on the website of Cornell Law School.

For motor vehicles on which the license plate is designed to be mounted on the vehicle such that the upper edge of the license plate is 1.2 m or less from the ground...

Does the deletion of the "designed" or " designed to be" change the meaning of the sentence ? In my humble opinion (Non Native English Speaker), the deletion of the "designed" does not change the meaning, but the deletion of the "designed to be" will imply that the license plate is already mounted.

  • 1
    "Is to be" is a very formal-sounding, somewhat archaic form... I don't think the average speaker would use it. – Catija Feb 15 '17 at 20:27
  • Did you check the definitions of "design"? It doesn't just mean where it is or will go ("to be" decides that). – user3169 Feb 15 '17 at 20:44

In some contexts they could mean the same, but not here. Is to be mounted means (roughly) should be mounted - it might be according to the designers, but here it is more likely to be according to the law; in other contexts it might be the choice of the purchaser.

Designed to be mounted means that the designer(s) intended that it be mounted there, and designed it accordingly. Suppose the designer had been working in a different jurisdiction, with different constraints on the positioning. Then we could say that it had been designed to be mounted 1.4m from the ground, but for legal reasons here it was to be mounted below 1.2m .

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