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Thread: To be to

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    #1

    To be to

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

    Thank you.

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    #2

    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!

  1. easybreakable's Avatar
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    #3

    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

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    #4

    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'?

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    #5

    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.

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    #6

    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

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    #7

    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.




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