Description about Obama

It was a screenshot from a video on Youtube. I interested with the description saying "..., he was the first African American to be elected to the presidency......"

I bold the to be as in my understanding, the sentence should be "..., he was the first African American elected to the presidency......"

My question is: is the original sentence's grammar correct? If it is not, how about my sentence?

  • 1
    Both versions are correct. I don’t think there is even a difference in nuance between them. – James McLeod Mar 5 at 11:18
  • As many times I saw on tv, if a story of a movie will be continued, there will be written "to be* continued", mean that the story "will be continued." Then to be is a future event in passive sentence. I am wrong with that my understanding? – AirCraft Lover Mar 5 at 11:27
  • 2
    to be is just the infinitive form of the verb be. It doesn't have a tense, future or past, by definition. – Useless Mar 5 at 13:16
  • Welcome to EL&U, but please do not post screenshots of text. They are very unfriendly to people using screen readers, they do not resize predictably on different devices, and they prevent the question from being indexed by search engines, both internally and on the Internet. Besides, if you cannot be bothered to copy and paste or transcribe a few sentences, it is a little presumptuous to ask that others write you a full answer. – choster Mar 5 at 16:48
  • How can you ask about whether the grammar is correct and write your questions ungrammatically? – Lambie Mar 5 at 17:03

We often reduce adjective clauses or join separate sentences for the sake of precision or for close knitting of construction. For same purpose often past participle phrases are used when the person or the thing is acted upon

He was the first African American (to be) elected to the Presidency. =

  • He was the first African American.

  • He was elected to the Presidency.

We have two alternatives; either to make the second sentence an infinitival phrase where "To be" is a state of being or a past participal phrase where by removing HE WAS the rest of the sentence becomes qualifying. Nevertheless, two phrases qualify " African American ". No future meaning is conveyed by " to be ". Both of them are correct and the subtle nuances they bear are from the point of construction, but little of functional.

  • 1). Both of them are correct.... what are them you said both? 2). If the formal written English test (such as TOEFL), is the original sentence correct? – AirCraft Lover Mar 5 at 19:52
  • To be elected .../ elected... Both. The difference being that the original version there is something of a distinction between an 'African American' and ' to be elected...' While in the latter two states mix and mingle. Yes, the original sentence is correct. – Barid Baran Acharya Mar 6 at 1:11

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