I am to

MYLAA

Senior Member
Arabic
I am to see you.
Is there a rule like this ( subject+ verb to be + to + verb)
In English , If so , when should I use it?

Thank you
 
  • Oujmik

    Senior Member
    UK
    British English
    Yes, this is possible but it's very rare in normal conversation and quite antiquated. It is normally used to talk about something you are supposed/scheduled/committed to do in the future, typically something that has been arranged by someone else. For example:

    • I am to marry Mr Darcy. (You will marry Mr Darcy and the wedding was arranged by some other person, possibly against your will
    • I am to leave for France tomorrow (I have been made to or instructed to leave for France tomorrow)
    This form is very antiquated, but it is extremely similar to the much more modern usage of 'supposed'. In fact, you can understand it more easily, and make it sound modern, by adding the word 'supposed' in the middle. The meaning only changes very subtly.

    • I am supposed to marry Mr Darcy.
    • I am supposed to leave for France tomorrow
     
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    shop-englishx

    Banned
    Urdu
    Hi, Oujmik.

    What's the difference in meanings between the following?

    I am to leave for France tomorrow.
    I have to leave for France tomorrow.

    Thank you!
     

    Oujmik

    Senior Member
    UK
    British English
    Hi, Oujmik.

    What's the difference in meanings between the following?

    I am to leave for France tomorrow.
    I have to leave for France tomorrow.

    Thank you!
    It's very subtle. 'I have to' implies that it is somehow necessary and perhaps that you believe it is necessary. 'I am to' is more impersonal, it implies that some other person has dictated that you will leave and you may or may not want to.
     

    MYLAA

    Senior Member
    Arabic
    It's very subtle. 'I have to' implies that it is somehow necessary and perhaps that you believe it is necessary. 'I am to' is more impersonal, it implies that some other person has dictated that you will leave and you may or may not want to.
    Thank you all
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don't really agree that I am to do X is antiquated. I think it's very much part of the living language, and the ngrams certainly register plenty of uses still (click), though quite a few of those are things like 'how happy I am to see you' etc.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Hmmm - nearly all those "I am to do X" from the second half of the last century seem to be more on the lines of "How happy I am to see you".

    This ngram shows a reasonable number of few recent instances of "You are to go to..."
    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=you+are+to+go+to,+you+must+go+to&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1;,you are to go to;,c0;.t1;,you must go to;,c0

    "You are to go to work as usual" sounds not at all antiquated to me. I think "to be to" is used less freely nowadays, but it does survive as a polite command.
     
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    Oujmik

    Senior Member
    UK
    British English
    Hmmm - nearly all those "I am to do X" from the second half of the last century seem to be more on the lines of "How happy I am to see you".

    This ngram shows a reasonable number of few recent instances of "You are to go to..."
    https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=you+are+to+go+to,+you+must+go+to&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1;,you are to go to;,c0;.t1;,you must go to;,c0

    "You are to go to work as usual" sounds not at all antiquated to me. I think "to be to" is used less freely nowadays, but it does survive as a polite command.

    Used as a command (i.e. not in the first person as in the OP) I would agree that it is less antiquated, certainly still in use although I suspect it is declining in favour of more obvious options such as "You should..." and "You must..."

    The uses which showed up in ngrams "How happy I am to see you" are examples of a completely different construction which by coincidence has the same word order. In this construction the 'I am' is referring to 'happy' not to 'to see you'.
     
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