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    #1

    Be + to + infinitive what structure is this & how to use it ?

    You are to take the little girl to her school
    I was to call you yesterday but I couldn't
    They were to visit thier mother but they didn't
    you are not to invite your friends to our party


    Subject + be + to + infinitive

    what does this construction call ?
    and could you explain me how and when should I use it ?
    what are its usages ?
    is it similar to must and should ?
    is it contained any obligation sense ?

  1. English Freak's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Be + to + infinitive what structure is this & how to use it ?

    Quote Originally Posted by nesyan View Post
    You are to take the little girl to her school
    I was to call you yesterday but I couldn't
    They were to visit thier mother but they didn't
    you are not to invite your friends to our party


    Subject + be + to + infinitive

    What is this construction called ?
    And could you explain me how and when I should use it ?
    What are its usages ?
    Is it similar to must and should ?
    Does it contain/have any obligation sense ?
    First, note this structure is used in present and past tenses only.
    There are some uses for this structure of which the most important ones are:
    1) When we want to talk about plans and arrangements in a formal way. (e.g. The Chief Executive is to see poverty-stricken neighborhoods.)
    2) When we want to give orders, usually by parents talking to children. (e.g. You are to come back home before sunset.)

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    #3

    Re: Be + to + infinitive what structure is this & how to use it ?

    Quote Originally Posted by nesyan View Post
    You are to take the little girl to her school
    I was to call you yesterday but I couldn't
    They were to visit thier mother but they didn't
    you are not to invite your friends to our party


    Subject + be + to + infinitive

    what does this construction call ?
    and could you explain me how and when should I use it ?
    what are its usages ?
    is it similar to must and should ?
    is it contained any obligation sense ?

    REMINDER: NOT A TEACHER


    (1) Teacher English has given us an excellent answer.

    (2) According to my books, this kind of construction is called a

    complementary infinitive. When you have time, please google this term, and you

    will probably finds tons of material to study.

    (3) One of my favorite books (Descriptive English Grammar) gives these examples

    and explanations:

    (a) He ought to pay his debt. = He must pay his debt.

    (b) The sun is going to rise. = The sun will rise.

    (c) The group is to assemble at dawn. = the future + intention.

    (d) I used to work there. = I once worked there.

    (Full credit: the book's authors are Homer House & Susan Harman. The publisher is Prentice-Hall. I have the 1950 edition.)

    (4) Another favorite book (A Grammar of Present-Day English by Pence & Emery, 1963 edition, published by Macmillan) has these examples and explanations:

    (a) It is going to rain. The infinitive "to rain" completes the predication begun by the finite verb "is going."

    (b) You are to leave in an hour. The infinitive "to leave" completes the predication begun by the finite verb "are."

    P.S. When I was young, we used to call your beautiful country The Lebanon. I think that it sounds better with the definite article!
    Last edited by TheParser; 16-Sep-2011 at 22:16.

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