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    #1

    be to/be going to/be about to

    Question 1:

    be to
    be going to
    be about to

    I know they all have a meaning of futurity, but I can't tell what the difference is in meaning in detail among them. Could you help me with that? For example,

    a. Tom was to New York.
    b. Tom was going to New York.
    c. Tom was about to New York.
    --------
    Question 2:

    Quote Originally Posted by kadioguy View Post
    (1) He paused, as if he was to let the painful memories pass.
    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    I can't make sense of (1).

    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/t...=1#post1522599

    Why does't this sentence make sense?

    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

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    #2

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    Of your three sentences, only (b) is correct, and it's not a future but a past -- meaning that Tom was intending to go to New York or that Tom was actually travelling there.

    All three constructions are auxiliary -- they require a main verb.

    "I am to go to New York" means that I am required to go there.

    "I am going to go to New York" means that I am intending or planning to go there. In this sense alone, "I am going to New York" (without auxiliary "go") can also mean largely the same thing.

    "I am about to go to New York" means that I shall set off on my trip presently.
    Retired proofreader. ESL tutor. Not a teacher. Nor a typist, evidently.

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    #3

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    Quote Originally Posted by abaka View Post
    Of your three sentences, only (b) is correct, and it's not a future but a past -- meaning that Tom was intending to go to New York or that Tom was actually travelling there.

    All three constructions are auxiliary -- they require a main verb.
    Thank you, abaka. I made basic grammatical errors.

    They should be the following:

    a. Tom was to go to New York.
    b. Tom was going to go to New York.
    c. Tom was about to go to New York.
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    Quote Originally Posted by kadioguy View Post
    They should be the following:

    a. Tom was to go to New York.
    b. Tom was going to New York.
    c. Tom was about to go to New York.
    You've got sentence b. wrong. What you mean is:

    b. Tom was going to go to New York.

    Also, you've highlighted the wrong parts in blue.

  5. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    Before you ask any more questions, read this brief summary of the uses of be to + infinitive.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv103.shtml

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    #6

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    Before you ask any more questions, read this brief summary of the uses of be to + infinitive.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv103.shtml
    Thank you, jutfrank. I have read that summary.

    He paused, as if he was to let the painful memories pass.

    We use be to + infinitive when discussing formal or official arrangements or to give formal instructions or orders. Be to + infinitive doesn't fit in the above sentence, because "he was to let the painful memories pass" doesn't make sense to mean a formal or official arrangement or a formal instruction or order.

    Am I right?
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: be to/be going to/be about to

    That's right.

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