Sentence: WOW, an Icelandic budget airline, is to start fares from US to Ireland for less than $350 return, including all taxes.


So, why did the writer use the infinitive form of the verb TO BE in that sentence? What's the meaning?

Also, for this example:

Am I to believe in that? x Am I supposed to believe in that? x Should I believe in that?

The first sentence above is the one that I don't get the meaning. Could anyone please what is the difference between them?


1 Answer 1


...is to start fares... (i.e. to be + infinitive) - in this context, the meaning is a formal expression of intent or obligation.

More typically, 'to be + infinitive' is used to express, imperiously, a command. 'What am I supposed to do ? 'You are to attend the meeting at 3pm

Am I to believe ... (i.e. interrogative to be (especially first person) + infinitive) is an idiomatic, and imperious-sounding form whose sense, depending on context, includes 'Am I supposed to believe ...', 'Do you expect me to believe...', 'Is it really the case that...', 'Are you honestly suggesting that...'

  • Without evidence, I would not accept that is to start is a contraction of is going to start. I agree that they are more and less formal ways of saying the same thing, but to describe one as a contraction of the other is a much stronger claim about their relationship.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 6, 2015 at 0:22

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