Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: To be to

  1. #1
    Explorer is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    46
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default To be to

    What does 'he is to visit them tomorow' mean - he has promised them, circumstances make him, or something another?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    TheParser is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4,877
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To be to

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    What does 'he is to visit them tomorow' mean - he has promised them, circumstances make him, or something another?

    Thank you.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) I found a somewhat similar sentence in Descriptive English Grammar by Professors House and Harman:

    The group is to assemble at dawn.

    (a) The professors explain that it indicates futurity and intention.

    (i) I think that the same applies to your sentence:

    (a) He will visit them tomorrow.'
    (b) It is his intention (plan) to visit them tomorrow.

    (2) Grammatically speaking, the two professors explain that such sentences are

    examples of complementary infinitives. (You may wish to check your books for

    more information on this matter.)

    (3) Here is one more of their examples:

    I am + to leave at noon. = I shall/will leave at noon.

    (4) And here is an example from A Grammar of Present-Day English by Professors Pence and Emery:

    You are + to leave in an hour.

    That sounds to me something like an order. What do you think? For example, I think that they like to use this kind of sentence in the army: You are to report immediately to headquarters!

  3. #3
    easybreakable's Avatar
    easybreakable is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Academic
      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Libya
      • Current Location:
      • Libya
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    249
    Post Thanks / Like

    Lightbulb Re: To be to

    TheParser, your posts are priceless, I have always seen this structure but never read about it in such detailed explanation, THANK you

  4. #4
    Explorer is offline Junior Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Russian
      • Home Country:
      • Russian Federation
      • Current Location:
      • Russian Federation
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    46
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To be to

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) I found a somewhat similar sentence in Descriptive English Grammar by Professors House and Harman:

    The group is to assemble at dawn.

    (a) The professors explain that it indicates futurity and intention.

    (i) I think that the same applies to your sentence:

    (a) He will visit them tomorrow.'
    (b) It is his intention (plan) to visit them tomorrow.

    (2) Grammatically speaking, the two professors explain that such sentences are

    examples of complementary infinitives. (You may wish to check your books for

    more information on this matter.)

    (3) Here is one more of their examples:

    I am + to leave at noon. = I shall/will leave at noon.

    (4) And here is an example from A Grammar of Present-Day English by Professors Pence and Emery:

    You are + to leave in an hour.

    That sounds to me something like an order. What do you think? For example, I think that they like to use this kind of sentence in the army: You are to report immediately to headquarters!
    Regarding 'an order' my opinion is the same, though it should be noted that it is a student's opinion.
    As for the professors' 'indicates futurity and intention', I have met that 'to be to' expresses obligation as well, like in your example.

    Your answer generated two questions more:
    1. What sentence is 'He is to visit them tomorrow' closer to: 'He must visit them tomorrow' or 'He shall visit them tomorrow'?
    2. What is the difference between 'He is to visit them tomorrow' and 'He is going to visit them tomorrow'?

  5. #5
    TheParser is offline Key Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    4,877
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To be to

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post

    Your answer generated two questions more:
    1. What sentence is 'He is to visit them tomorrow' closer to: 'He must visit them tomorrow' or 'He shall visit them tomorrow'?
    2. What is the difference between 'He is to visit them tomorrow' and 'He is going to visit them tomorrow'?

    Like you, I am very eager to see what the teachers say.

  6. #6
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    28,169
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: To be to

    Quote Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
    1. What sentence is 'He is to visit them tomorrow' closer to: 'He must visit them tomorrow' or 'He shall visit them tomorrow'?
    'He shall visit them tomorrow' is not a natural utterance for most speakers today.

    It is not possible to give an exact idea of what message is conveyed by 'He is to visit them tomorrow' without more context.

    If the speaker is a strict father who has just been told by his wife that their son has not visited his grandparents since they were taken to hospital, he might utter the words as a firm directive.

    If the speaker is a television announcer talking about some hospitalised veterans in a town where the President is spending some time, he might utter those words as a simple statement of a planned future activity.

    2. What is the difference between 'He is to visit them tomorrow' and 'He is going to visit them tomorrow'?
    Once again, it depends on the context.
    5
    Please do not edit your question after it has received a response. Such editing can make the response hard for others to understand.


  7. #7
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • Hungarian
      • Home Country:
      • Europe
      • Current Location:
      • Europe
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    341
    Post Thanks / Like

    Thumbs up Re: To be to

    Quote Originally Posted by easybreakable View Post
    TheParser, your posts are priceless.
    I couldn't agree with you more on this. At the risk of sounding like a teenager (which - sadly - I'm not), The Parser rocks.




Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk