The modal verb “to Be” in English
То be as a modal verb has two tenses: the Present and Past Indefinite. It expresses the following meanings:
- Necessity due to a plan or some kind of previous arrangement
- He is to come at exactly five
- She was to phone after dinner
NOTE: A perfect infinitive after the verb to be shows that the action had been planned but wasn’t carried out
- He was to have come at seven and now it’s already nine (He didn’t come)
- Strict orders, formal commands or formal instructions
- You are to report to the Captain.
- Strict prohibitions
- You are not to tell anybody about it
- Something that is destined to happen
- It was to happen. She was to become his wife
- If we are to be neighbours for life, we should be on friendly terms
- Asking for instructions
- What are we to do?
- Where am I to go?
- It is very close to can and may
- Where is he to be found?
- Nothing was to be done