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Future Expressions

Expressions to talk about the future

There are some set expressions that we can use in English to talk about the future alongside the different structures.

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Be to

A formal structure that has a variety of uses:

  • To give instructions or orders

He is to report to the Headmaster tomorrow morning

  • To refer to obligation

You are not to discuss this with anyone

  • To refer to a formal decision

Essential workers are to return to work on Monday

  • News Headlines. This  structure is common to refer to events or decisions that are fixed. In  keeping with the principles of Headline writing, the verb is often not  used in interest of brevity

The Prime Minister is to announce closure of the borders  (Prime Minister to announce closure of borders

Be due to

We use Be due to + INF to talk about scheduled or timetabled events like the Present Simple to talk about the future

The train is due to arrive at 10:30

Be about to/Be on the point of

We use Be about to + INF to talk about events we expect to happen very soon. Often used with Just for emphasis

The train is about to leave

They are just about to go to the cinema

We use Be on the point of + ING in the same way

The train is on the point of leaving

When using time expressions we use the present simple rather than be about to

The train leaves in five minutes

The train is about to leave in five minutes

More information about Present Simple to talk about scheduled events in the future here

Related Topics

Fundamental future structures

Will, be going to & the present continuous

Future actions & intentions

Predictions about the future

Present Simple to talk about the future

A timetable/A schedule/A known fact/An arrangement

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