Unit 10.1

Be to + Infinitive in Passive Voice

Verb Phrase

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Introduction

We find to be to + infinitive to discuss official arrangements, orders or official instructions.

This structure has both active and passive form.

We use the passive form when we want to focus on the agent or when we give orders.

Form

The structure of to be to + infinitive in passive voice is:
Subject + to be to +  verb [passive form]…

Example

  • Pilot is to be helped by the cabin crew.
  • Students are to be separated by the teacher if they start talking to each other during the lesson.
  • Patients are to be taken care of by the nurses.
  • Everyone who drives without license is to be fined.
  • Tents are not to be changed without permission.

Use

We often use the structure to be to + passive voice in official arrangements:

  • if we want to highlighting the agent or doer;
  • if we want to give orders.

NOTE: It is not so common to use this structure to give command/order. However teachers and parents mostly use to be to + passive voice when they give order to children.

Summary

We use to be to + infinitive in the passive form when we want to focus on the agent or when we give orders.

Its structure is: We start with the subject of the sentence followed by to be to and then the verb in the passive form.

For example:
“People who litter the streets are to be punished.” = We use to be punished to highlight the agent of the sentence, which is people who litter the streets.

NOTE: It is not so common to use this structure to give command/order. However teachers and parents mostly use to be to + passive voice when they give order to children.

For example:
— “Knives are not to be used by small children, only by the parents.”

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

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