Other ways to express future – Grammar chart
Be about to, be on the brink/verge/point of
Be about to
We often use be about to + infinitive to say that something will happen in the very near future.
- Some apps are about to disappear from the market.
- Scientists say they are about to find a vaccine.
Be on the brink/verge/point of
We can also use be on the brink of, be on the verge of or be on the point of to say that something will happen very soon.
- Our country’s economy is on the brink of collapse.
- This historical museum is on the brink of losing half its masterpieces.
- They are on the verge of becoming the team to win most finals in history.
- The two historical enemies are on the point of reaching an agreement.
Be due to
We use be due to + infinitive to talk about things that are planned or expected to happen.
- Greece is due to repay around £6 billion to its creditors next semester.
- The secretary is due to arrive in Montreal tomorrow morning.
We can use be to + infinitive in different situations.
Be to + infinitive is often used in news reports to talk about official arrangements and events that are planned or expected to happen. The meaning is usually something like ‘it is expected’.
- Prince William is to visit Paris for the first time since his mother died. (=It is expected that Prince William will…)
- Nine care homes for the elderly are to close by the end of March.
Formal instructions and orders
We can also use be to + infinitive to talk about official instructions and orders. When used in the negative form, it expresses prohibition.
- All employees are to attend a health and safety orientation at the end of the week.
- You are not to leave this room until I say so.
We often use be to + infinitive in an if-clause. In these cases, we say what should be done (main clause) to achieve the desired result (if-clause).
- We need to be open to everybody’s opinion if we are to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
- If he is to succeed, he will need to learn to represent the interests of all Americans.
Be bound to, be likely to (probability)
Be bound to
We use be bound to + infinitive to say that something is certain or very likely to happen.
- They are bound to like him. He is such a sweet guy.
- His new film is bound to win the heart of every romantic out there.
Be likely to
We use be likely to + infinitive to say that something will probably happen. We can also use It + be likely that + clause.
- The government is likely to pass new regulations very soon.
- It’s likely that the company will have to pay for the damages.
We use be unlikely + infinitive to say that something will probably not happen. We can also use It + be unlikely that + clause.
- He is unlikely to win this match.
- It’s unlikely that the weather will change over the next few days.