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1. Not a sound was to be heard.
2. Not a sound was heard.
3. No sound was to be heard.
4. No sound was heard.

Q) When I first saw #1, I thought #2 sounds better. What do you think?
What about #3 and 4?
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Comments  
T my native ear, they all mean the same. #1 & 3 seem a bit more poetic than the other two (especially #1).
1. Not a sound was to be heard.
2. Not a sound was heard.
There's no real difference. Perhaps #2 makes it clearer that someone was listening.

3. No sound was to be heard.
4. No sound was heard.
'Not a . . . is more emphatic than 'no'

I think 1/2 are probably more common than 3/4.

Clive
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Clive1. Not a sound was to be heard.2. Not a sound was heard.There's no real difference. Perhaps #2 makes it clearer that someone was listening.
Wow.. that's interesting point but difficultEmotion: crying because both #1 and #2 look like the same passive form "be heard (by someone). I was wondering why #2 only makes it clearer that someone was listening when they both include passive form "be heard (by someone)". Sorry, perhaps it's unexplanable.
I have a doubt.
We use was to be in this way too.Like
He was to go there but he is not going there now.So this describes future.
Similarly when we say Not a sound was to be heard does this tell about future or about past that no sound was heard?
Thanks so much.
Consider this.
Mary came home.
Dinner was cooked. Could mean it was already cooked.
Dinner was to be cooked. Sound like nobody had cooked it yet.

But I don't want to push my comment about the sounds too hard. It was just a possible nuance. That's all.

Clive
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Thanks clive.
Look at this
Prime minister has cancelled his visit,he was to go tomorrow.
Is this right?
Yes

PS I wrote 'Yes', here, but I'm sure I meant 'No'. Careless! Emotion: embarrassed
dishantPrime minister has cancelled his visit,he was to go tomorrow.
Is this right?
No. You have a comma splice, and you are missing an article.
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