Explanations » B2 Grammar Explanations » Other ways to express future

Other ways to express future – Grammar chart

Other ways to express future - Grammar chart

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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. 


Be to

We can use be to + infinitive in different situations.

Official arrangements

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. 

If clauses

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.