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.

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

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 due to

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

Be about to/Be on the point of

Fundamental future structures

Present Simple to talk about the future

Further future structures

Headlines

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