Unit 4.1

To Be About to


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Introduction

To be about to is a structure that refers to actions that are going to happen very soon.

Form

To be about to has this structure in the sentence:
Subject + be (present simple) about to + infinitive of the verb + …

Sometimes we put just after the verb to be.
NOTE: We cannot use to be about to with time expressions, so in that case, we just use future simple.

Example

  • I‘m about to have a surgery for my blindness.
  • He is about to feel dizzy because of alcohol.
  • She is about to get up and start her day.
  • We are about to fall asleep in this boring class.
  • They are just about to show students a skeleton.

Use

We use to be about to for near future actions that are going to happen very soon. When we put just before the verb to be we give more emphasis to the sentence.

Summary

To be about to is a structure that refers to actions that are going to happen very soon. We can put the word just before the the verb to be for more emphasis.

When we want to use it in a sentence, we have to start with the subject of the sentence followed by the structure to be about to and the infinitive of the verb of the sentence.

For example:
— “The family is just about to have lunch.” = We use just to emphasize the fact that the family will have lunch very soon.
— “The family is about to have lunch.” = The family will have lunch very soon.
♦ 
“The family is going to have lunch together.” = We use the be going to structure when we talk about an already planned event that will happen in the near future, but not as soon as it would happen with the be about to structure.

NOTE: We cannot use to be about to with time expressions, so in that case, we just use future simple.

For example:
— “The family is about to have lunch in ten minutes.”  / “The family will have lunch in ten minutes.”

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

Exercises

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