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    Default be verb versus modal verb

    What is the difference?

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    I think "to be" is an example of a modal verb.
    Here are some links about modal verbs:
    ENGLISH PAGE - Modal Verb Tutorial
    English Grammar: Modals (EnglishClub.com)
    English Grammar - MODAL VERBS - Word Power

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    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    What is the difference?
    the verb 'to be' is an auxiliary, but not a modal. Modals never change in form.

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    the verb 'to be' is an auxiliary, but not a modal. Modals never change in form.
    Hi, Svartnik!
    The verb "to be to" is the equivalent of the modal verb "must". It's used in timetables, schedules etc.
    e.g. The train is to arrive soon.
    I'm to be at university at half past eight.

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Hi, Svartnik!
    The verb "to be to" is the equivalent of the modal verb "must". It's used in timetables, schedules etc.
    e.g. The train is to arrive soon.
    I'm to be at university at half past eight.
    Hello HS

    Of course not the equivalent, at most a synonym since both may express obligation.
    It is not 'to be to', it is 'be to', and it is a modal idiom and not a modal auxiliary like 'must'.

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    Hello HS

    Of course not the equivalent, at most a synonym since both may express obligation.
    It is not 'to be to', it is 'be to', and it is a modal idiom and not a modal auxiliary like 'must'.
    Hi, SK!
    We can give it different names. The thing is that while teaching modal verbs and their equivalents I always tell my students that must has two equivalents "have to" and "Be to".

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    I think that it is more useful to describe the form 'to be' as:

    a) A way of expressing future arrangements (although I always teach that this form is very old, and hardly used in speech:

    I am to be in Glasgow at 4pm

    b) A way of telling a child what they must do:

    You are to be in bed by 8
    You are not to go and meet your friends this evening

    Matt


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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Smith View Post
    Hi, SK!
    We can give it different names. The thing is that while teaching modal verbs and their equivalents I always tell my students that must has two equivalents "have to" and "Be to".
    I've never heard "be to" as an equivalent of "must". Is it commenly used? Is "be to" always replaceable with "have to"?

    In your first example you said: The train is to arrive soon.
    Does it have the same meaing as: The train arrives soon. Or: The train has to arrive soon.


    @ aksaboutenglish
    You said: I am to be in Glasgow at 4pm.
    Is it the same as: I have to be in Glasgow at 4pm.

    Thanks a lot.

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Hi,

    I am to be in Glasgow at 4pm

    means

    I am arriving in Glasgow at 4pm: it is when I definitely think I will be there

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    Default Re: be verb versus modal verb

    Quote Originally Posted by Dany View Post
    I've never heard "be to" as an equivalent of "must". Is it commenly used? Is "be to" always replaceable with "have to"?

    In your first example you said: The train is to arrive soon.
    Does it have the same meaing as: The train arrives soon. Or: The train has to arrive soon.


    @ aksaboutenglish
    You said: I am to be in Glasgow at 4pm.
    Is it the same as: I have to be in Glasgow at 4pm.

    Thanks a lot.
    "Be to" is used in the meaning of "must" in sentences where there is timetable or schedule. It's not the same as "have to' though "have to" is the first equivqalent of "must'
    "The train is to arrive soon" & "The train arrives soon " are similar in meaning. The train has to arrive soon has nothing to with timetable.

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