I am writing a scientific document and I need to talk about a device that has not yet been built, but when it is, it will be the most powerful of its kind. So, how do I refer to it?

My current sentence:

This is the device, the most powerful telescope ever built.

Since it has not been built, is this sentence correct?

I was thinking:

This is the device, the most powerful telescope ever to be built.

  • Please give more context to the statement. In its current form, it represents a question without a question mark an the end. Writing the full sentence will help us to give a detailed answer.
    – Rio1210
    Jan 17, 2017 at 20:22
  • Well.. that is as complete as it is. Imagine I am showing you the design of a telescope and say "This is the device, the most powerful telescope ever built". But I wonder if it is a mistake, because it has not been actually built yet, but whenever its construction is finished, it will be the most powerful. So I want to know if I should change the sentence because of this. Jan 17, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    Upvote the answer if it works. If it doesn't, point out why in the comments. Thank you.
    – Rio1210
    Jan 17, 2017 at 20:51
  • Thank you! I loved the second suggestion. Pretty fancy ;) Jan 17, 2017 at 21:54
  • 2
    To some extent, the most appropriate word choice depends on your level of confidence that the device will in fact be built. If you have high confidence, Rio1210's suggestions are on the money; if you have low or middling confidence, you might want to replace the when with if in each of the two suggested wordings.
    – Sven Yargs
    Jan 18, 2017 at 9:16

2 Answers 2


The problem in writing "This is the device, the most powerful telescope ever to be built." is that it implies that no telescope more powerful than it will be built in the future, which I presume is not your intended meaning.

Instead, you could simply write:

"This device will be the most powerful telescope when built"


"When built, this device will be the most powerful telescope of its kind."


It is possible, though a little unwieldy, to say This device, to be the most powerful ever built; you could insert intended or some similar verb before 'to'.

  • 1
    I like it. I didn't think of changing the place of the verb, thank you! Jan 18, 2017 at 13:08

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