The future with ‘to be to’

(The formal future with ‘to be to’ in English)

Table of contents – future with ‘to be to’

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Usage of the future with ‘to be to’
  2. Formation of the future with ‘to be to’
  3. Further explanations and exercises

When is the construction ‘to be to’ used?

Besides the actual future tense with ‘will’, future things in English can also be expressed with the construction ‘to be to + verb’. You frequently see this expression in a formal context (such as in the media) to denominate an event that is about to happen. In terms of grammar, note that the verb ‘to be’ is conjugated in the simple present. In general, the following applies to its usage:

  • The phrase to be to often appears in formal situations for future events that will usually occur soon:
    • “The minister is to visit the new museum on Saturday.”
    • “They are to open the international airport in two days.”

How is the future with ‘to be to’ formed?

The expression for future events ‘to be to’ is formed from the conjugated form of the verb ‘to be’ in the simple present in combination with the corresponding main verb in the infinitive (base form). Note:

Rule for the near future with ‘to be to

Conjugated form of ‘to be’ (in the present simple) + ‘to’ + infinitive (base form of the verb)

Additional examples of the formation of ‘to be to

  • “The mayor is to attend the discussion.”
    • 3rd person singular
  • “The instructions are to be followed.”

Further explanations relating to the ‘Future with ‘to be to’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘The formal future with ‘to be to’ in English grammar’ and may be helpful too: