The meeting is to take place at 10 pm Should "Is to" be mean here as "have to" or "going to"? Another example: Those of you, who sign up are to be commended. This kind of sentences confusing me a bit) What rules in action here?

  • 2
    – mplungjan
    Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 5:43
  • The capitalisation of IS TO at least hints at the illocutionary act Amadan mentions, though I suspect it is merely meant to highlight the string. But see what Jasper says about that. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 8:45

2 Answers 2


It can be used in two meanings:

  • More commonly as a statement of expectation, pretty much equivalent to "The meeting is supposed/expected/scheduled to take place at 10 pm".
  • Less commonly as an illocutionary act: "I hereby declare that the meeting shall take place at 10 pm". Compare with a bit more salient "The defendant is to pay $5000 in damages to the plaintiff (bam)".
  • Apparently, according to Searle's classification, these both fall in the 'illocutionary act' speech act classification. The first is subclass assertive, the second subclass directive. Previously, I'd only come across the 'illocutionary act = speech act that [instantaneously and unavoidably] changes the reality in accord with the proposition of the declaration' [Wikipedia] usage; in Searle's [1975] classification, this is the declaration subclass. Commented Aug 6, 2014 at 10:30

Essentially (and semantically), is to here functions like will (synonymous with going to):

The meeting will take place at 10p.m.

However, your organization of what goes with what is a little off. To doesn't go with is but rather belongs with take (to take). To is the infinitive marker (to be, to hold, to laugh, etc.).


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