This discovery was to have a major effect on the treatment of heart disease.

Does was to have mean supposed or destined in this sentence?

  • In practice, the "purpose" sense (supposed, intended) would be very unlikely with your exact text (apart from anything else, "discoveries" aren't usually "planned", so they're not usually made with a goal in mind). But you'd have to provide more context to get a definitive answer. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 29 '19 at 13:15

No, was to have doesn't mean 'supposed' or 'destined' in this case, it is merely the standard way of talking about an event in the past without using past tense for the whole sentence.

  • 3
    Specifically, the future of an event in the past! – whiskeychief Oct 29 '19 at 17:34

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