English Grammar

must, have to, be to?

I'm familiar with "must" and "to have to" to express an obligation or necessity.
But what about "to be to". Does it eypress a future sense like I'm going to?
GG suggested these two constructions: "I need more ink for the printer if I'm printing those reports".
or "if I'm to print those reports". I would prefer the second one, but I don't know, whether it exists or not, or rather what is the difference between the three possibilities.

CW Gwendo


  • thats really correct of your explanation. we are satsfy
  • From AlefBa:
    'Hi Sandy,
    Gwendo has left the course and asked me to say farewell and thanks to all of you on her behalf.'
    Well, goodbye Gwendo, hello Alefba. Next Friday, 04/01/2011, April Fools' Day, will also say farewell to everybody on the forum : Donna, Fruits of India, Funksell Rehab, Metrics Controller, Negoww1, Peter, Paul and Mary, Saïmiri, Scynthia Müller, The Chief of the DIF, The Spirit of IAQ, Ugoid, €-W.W
  • Farewell then. This side has been shut, because of the children perishing content.
  • Hi Sandy,
    Gwendo has left the course and asked me to say farewell and thanks to all of you on her behalf, you, Gee and AHQ included. She totally agreed with your explanations and so do I, especially the distinction you made between "If I do print" and if I'm about to print" was very helpful to us. Thanks for your support all the years long. (Can I say so?
  • I share your feeling, Gwendo. I also prefer "if I am to print..".
    Of course TO BE TO can be used instead of 'to have to' as it is about something that is likely to happen in the near future.
    However I think that TO BE TO is more formal, often used in reports, news, official arrangements and so on.
    Less formal: "if I am about to print".

    You said TO BE TO could possibly be synonym of to BE GOING TO. I'm not sure. TO BE GOING TO is for something that has been decided yet. But the printing in the sentence "if I am to print" is not necesserily something planned before.

    Now let's get back to your two sentences:
    if I'm printing
    if I am to print
    I wonder if there is not a shade of meaning parting that sentences.
    if I am printing = if I do print
    if I am to print = if I am about to print

    How does that catch you, Gwendo?

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