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<i>I am about to die</i> vs. <i>I am going to die</i>

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Abstract

This study portrays <i>be about to</i> as a construction which, although frequently described as nearly synonymous to <i>be going to</i>, falls somewhere in between the categories of futurate forms and ingressive aspectualizers. Constructional properties that distinguish <i>be about to</i> from <i>be going to are</i> worked out on the basis of several sources: The Oxford English Dictionary serves as testimony to the diachronic stages the two constructions passed through. For a detailed comparison of synchronic semantico-functional characteristics, large sets of data retrieved from the BNC are subjected to collostructional analysis. The results of these procedures converge in indicating that <i>be about to</i> has moved closer to ingressive aspectualizers, profiling the lead-up section to the onset of an event.

References

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