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what does the parenthetical phrase (will?) mean in this sentence?

Why construct this microbe? Craig Venter views it as a $30 million proof of concept that can (will?) lead to the construction of genomes specifically designed for the development of vaccines.

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For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Thanks, That's fine. I understand the meaning is: "can or more precisely will.." but what about the question mark?

    I can (will?) be raising my prices in September.
    the question mark means I'm not sure, I'm thinking, I might...

    The writer likely can't say with certainly whether the specialized genomes will 100% be used to create vaccinations -- that is not for *anyone* to say with certainty, right? and thus, the use of the question mark. It signals the speaker's tentativeness about their assertion. Possibly he thinks it's more likely than just mere possible, but doesn't want to be seen by his readers are certain or arrogant, and so he uses the question mark to signal tentativeness.


    can = it's possible
    will = (in this case, above, juxtaposed against can, it means something more likely to happen)

    I would say the writer choose to use (will?) to indicate that he, or someone, thinks that construction of these specialized genomes will happen -- not just that it's possible (can) but that it's very likely (will)


    I can meet you tomorrow at 10AM.
    > > That is, it's possible for me -- I am able to be there at that time.

    I'll meet you tomorrow at 10AM.
    > > Would you agree that, compared to the same sentence above that has 'can', this sentence with 'will' sounds more definite?


    I can take Friday off work to go the beach. (it's possible)
    I'll take Friday off work to go to the beach. (it's likely / my plan)

    I can drive you to work tomorrow (if you really need me to...)
    I'll drive you to work tomorrow (for sure, see you at 8AM...)


    I think the US can (will?) send weapons to Syria.

    I think Canada can (will?) accept higher numbers of immigrants in the future.

    I think some country can (will?) give Mr Snowden a safe haven from extradition to the US.

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