English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How should I describe something that will very likely happen right away? For example, would it be it correct to say, "It is about to rain"?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Certainly. You can say "It is about to rain" like you said. Depending on the context, you could also say:

It's probably going to rain soon.

Look at those clouds, it looks like rain.

It's going to rain.

(However, this question is a little vague. More detail about context would help.)

share|improve this answer

A single word would be :

Imminent : about to happen, occur, or take place very soon

For example:

His death is imminent

It is also correct the way you stated it, "It is about to..."

Just to make a distinction, "It is about to..." is best used for verbs, i.e. "rain", or "snow" or "melt". "It is about to melt."

"Imminent" is used with nouns e.g. "death", or "decision", or "arrival". "Uncle Fred's arrival is imminent."

share|improve this answer

One could say straightaway, e.g. "It will occur straightaway".

That usage is ironic, since it is not the term's original meaning. A straightaway was, still is, an uncurved racetrack.

share|improve this answer
Isn't it, straightaway? – Mari-Lou A Jan 24 '14 at 20:14
The question wasn't asking for synonyms for "immediately". – mgkrebbs Jan 27 '14 at 1:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.