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10 BE expressions

Hi, dear English learners. I hope you are doing well. In today’s blog entry, I want to look at 10 expressions starting with the auxiliary verb “be”.  Most of these phrases, as a rule, express modality and have a structure of their own. Anyway, all ten expressions are very useful, so my best advice to you is to read their definitions and check how they are used in context, and then try to incorporate them into your everyday English by all means.

  • Be allowed to
  • Be about to
  • Be to
  • Be due to
  • Be supposed to
  • Be meant to
  • Be likely to
  • Be able to
  • Be used to
  • Be going to

10 BE expressions

Be allowed to

If you allow someone to do something, you give them permission to do it or don’t prevent them from doing it. Be allowed to is a phrase (be + past participle of allow + to infinitive).  You can use it instead of can / could.

  • The soldiers were allowed to take an evening off. (The soldiers could take an evening off)
  • Sarah is allowed to use her brother’s car on the condition that she buys petrol.
  • Once you leave the country, you won’t be allowed to get back.
  • Animals are not allowed to enter the museum, except for guide dogs.
  • In most countries, drugs must be registered before they are allowed to be marketed.

10 BE expressions

Be about to

If you are about to do something, then you are planning to do it soon. Also, if something is about to happen, it’ll happen in the nearest future. The structure is: be + about + to-infinitive.

  • I was just about to leave when the telephone rang.
  • Armed robbers were caught red-handed yesterday as they were about to carry out stolen money into a security van.
  • Sean is about to begin a language course at college and hopes to become an interpreter when he graduates.
  • I was about to turn and talk to Mary when I remembered that we had an argument and she was angry with me.
  • They have been going out for a year and are about to move in together.

10 BE expressions

Be to

We use the structure be to + infinitive mostly in the news and it refers to future events, as well as with plans, orders, instructions, etc.

  • The mayor is to announce the opening of a new swimming pool on Saturday.
  • Mary and Simon are to be engaged tomorrow.
  • You are not to smoke in here under no circumstances!
  • The presidents of the two countries are to meet in France to discuss their political dispute.
  • Nobody is to leave until I say so!

10 BE expressions

Be due to

This phrase expresses scheduled or expected future action. The structure is: be + due + to-infinitive.

  • The plane is due to arrive at 10.15.
  •  The theatrical play is due to be delayed until further notice.
  • The dates listed show when their current terms of appointment are due to end.
  • A new wildlife park is due to open by the end of the year.
  • The tram line was due to open on the 1st of March this year, but this was delayed to allow further track alignment work.

10 BE expressions

Be supposed to

Use be supposed to when you want to say that you or somebody else is expected to perform an action. The structure is: be + supposed to + infinitive.

  • Mark is supposed to start work at 8.
  • Excuse me, you are not supposed to bring animals here.
  • How am I supposed to get work experience if I can’t get a job?
  • What are you doing here? Aren’t you supposed to be at home revising for the test?
  • I am supposed to meet the head of the department tomorrow. 

10 BE expressions

Be meant to

Use be meant to say that something will certainly happen because it’s about destiny or some other forces that cannot be controlled. The structure is: be + meant to + be.  

  • I’m sure Clair and Sean are meant to be together. 
  • The lecture was meant to be educational and to leave you with more positive feelings.
  • Everyone agrees that the film was meant to be glorious because of the cast and the moment it was filmed at.
  •  The funeral was meant to be a meaningful and memorable day for everyone present.
  • They immediately saw something in each other that made it undeniable that they were meant to be.

10 BE expressions

Be likely to

If something is likely to be, then it will most probably happen. Use it to talk about probability. The structure is: be + likely to + infinitive.

  • It’s very likely to rain in the afternoon.
  • Will you please remind the maid to water the plants on the balcony because she is likely to forget?
  • Patients with a history of drug and alcohol use are more likely to take stimulants for nonmedical reasons.
  • You are not likely to make a lot of money if you don’t work on it.
  • Government officials are unlikely to provide information to the public about misdoings in the government.

10 BE Expressions

Be able to

Use be able to as a form of can. It is normally used in situations where it is not possible to use can, e.g. future. The structure is: be + able to + infinitive.

  • When everyone leaves, we‘ll be able to talk in peace.
  • I wasn’t able to come up with a good title for the book, even though there were many suggestions.
  • The rule of thumb for a good tourist is to be able to blend in and act as if you were local.
  • These problems increase the risk of not being able to get pregnant, losing a baby, or having a baby too early.
  • Never shall I be able to prove my gratitude to you.

10 BE expressions

Be used to

Use be used to to say that you are accustomed to or familiar with something. The structure is: be + used to + gerund/noun.

  • I could never move to the city. I am used to living in the country.
  • I am used to doing rough farm work, but office work makes me feel claustrophobic.
  • Unlike us, the children are not used to getting up early.
  • After ten years spent in Russia, Anna was used to cold weather and harsh winters.
  • I didn’t like our new boss at first but now I‘m used to him.

10 BE expressions

Be going to

The construction be + going to + infinitive is normally used to express plans and intentions related to the future.  

  • What are you going to do for the weekend?
  • I think it’s going to rain later. Look at those clouds.
  • Can you believe it! My parents are going to buy me a new kitchen!
  • I’m very tired. I think I am going to finish this report tomorrow.
  • I’m going to stop smoking on Monday, I promise.
10 BE expressions
10 BE expressions
10 BE Expressions
10 BE Expressions

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