Meet a “possible” new Modal Verb in English: Set to

  • She said she is upset the case looks set to drag on in court for months to come.
  • The meeting was set to address the 2009 International Property Maintenance Code.
  • Looks like Apple is set to be the butt of some cruel jokes over the coming days.
  • Both universities are set to approve their proposals for raising fees next week.
  • The 2010 General Election is set to be one of the most important in our history
  • The final regulations are set to be adopted by the Board of Education next week

Further proof that English is dynamic. Not too many years ago, the phrase ‘set to’ was very much a metaphor (albeit a common one) in English. Its popularity has increased so much, particularly in journalistic English, that we could consider it a new future auxiliary, meaning “to be ready to”. Originally, this metaphor was used only in relation to people; however, as the examples above show, it can now be used with processes or things in general.


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