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I've got the following text from a friend via whatsapp:

"I already was about TO going class tomorrow morning."

When I read it I'm not sure about its correctness, it says, if the preposition TO should be here or not, since it's not clear if this "to" function as a preposition or as a part of infinitive, but both don't make sense to me, because infinitive form is "to"+ "base verb" (without "ing") and the using it as preposition also doesn't make sense since in other cases we say (verb)+ing directly after saying about. (Maybe I would say instead, "I already was about to go to the class tomorrow". Isn't it better?)

closed as off-topic by laugh, godel9, user3169, Varun Nair, Jeff Morrow Apr 11 '18 at 21:31

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  • Is your friend a native speaker? If so, haste and/or autocomplete have rendered the quoted sentence ungrammatical for more than one reason. – choster Apr 10 '18 at 0:21
  • No. He is not a native English speaker fortunately, but still normally he speaks English very good. – Judicious Allure Apr 10 '18 at 0:36
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it addresses a sentence that is severely ungrammatical with uncommon errors. It is unlikely that other people will benefit from discussing it. – laugh Apr 10 '18 at 5:49
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From the LDOCE:

be about to do something
if someone is about to do something, or if something is about to happen, they will do it or it will happen very soon

  • We were just about to leave when Jerry arrived.
  • Work was about to start on a new factory building.

In this idiom, to is the infinitive marker, and it always has to be followed by the infinitive form of the verb. Because this isn't the preposition to, it can't take the -ing form of a verb as a complement, so your example is ungrammatical:

**I already was about to going class tomorrow morning. (very ungrammatical)

If we replace it with the infinitive, it's better:

*I already was about to go class tomorrow morning. (ungrammatical)

But it's still ungrammatical because of another problem. The verb go can take a preposition phrase as a locative complement, but class isn't a preposition phrase, it's a noun. We need to indicate a destination with the preposition phrase to class:

I already was about to go to class tomorrow morning. (OK)

In this sentence, the first to is the infinitive marker introducing go, while the second to is a preposition marking a location as a destination. You need both in this sentence.

I already was about to go to the class tomorrow morning. (OK)

Your last example added the word the. This is also grammatical, but whether it's appropriate depends on whether the context licenses it. Without a special context, most speakers would probably use class without a determiner.


In this answer:

  • The * symbol indicates that an utterance is ungrammatical.
  • The ** symbol indicates that an utterance is ungrammatical for multiple reasons.
  • Thank you for the detailed answer. Can you exaplain me please why "I already was about to go to class tomorrow morning." even without an article? – Judicious Allure Apr 10 '18 at 0:40
  • @Archimedean_Point Would you consider posting that as a separate question? I think it's a bit tangential to the main question here, and it might take some time to write a detailed reply. – snailboat Apr 10 '18 at 1:02
  • Thank you. Done! ell.stackexchange.com/questions/163144/… – Judicious Allure Apr 10 '18 at 1:11

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