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  1. As I understand

I am going to do it = I have an intention of doing it

Although we don't know whether it will happen in 5 seconds or in 3 months.

I am about to do it = Very very soon I will do it

This means "right now" or "in a moment" or anything like this.

What does the negated form of it mean?

I am not about to do it = ...

Logically it should mean

I will do it but not very very soon

But as I've gotten it means something like

I won't ever do it/am not ever going to do it

So, can I make the following equations?

Be about to do something = having an intention of doing it very very soon

Not about to do something = not having an intention of doing it ever and at all


  1. If "be going to" is not used with "will" can "be about to" used with it?

I will be about to do it

I will not be about to do it

  • I am going to doesn't necessarily mean you intend on doing something. It could, for instance, mean that you will be forced into doing it. The doctors say I am going to die in a month. But I sincerely hope they're wrong. – Jason Bassford Jul 23 at 20:01
  • "I'm not about to do X" can be a mainly US casual expression meaning "I will never, under any circumstances do X". "not be about to do something informal used to emphasize that you have no intention of doing something" - Longman Dictionary – Michael Harvey Jul 23 at 20:13
  • So, it's will never, under any circumstances do or " have no intention of doing something"? – Michael Azarenko Jul 23 at 20:59
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As you've already pointed out,

I'm going to do it. means it will be done sometime, whether it be within seconds, days, or years.

I'm not going to do it. means it will never be done.

I'm about to do it. does mean it will be done very soon, as in within the next hour.

I'm not about to do it. also means it will not be done, but does not refer to a time period at all. Rather, it is usually used more confontationally. For example, if a child asks his mother for some candy, but the child has misbehaved, the mother may reply with, "I'm not about to give you any candy!" which is meant to show her agitation, and also does not tell us whether the mother plans to give her child any candy later, tomorrow, or if ever again.

For most cases, in the positive (saying you ARE going to do something), then "I am about to ..." can be used in place of "I am going to ...", but the negative is not true. "I am not about to ..." does not mean the same as "I am not going to ..."

edit: A phrase that can be used to say, "I will do it, but I will not do it very soon," is I'll get around to doing it or I'll eventually do it or I plan to do it.

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  • What if the mother says "I am not going to give you any candy". What will be the difference then between "not about to"? – Michael Azarenko Jul 23 at 20:58
  • Those would mean the same thing, but "not about to" would be said with more stern or anger. – Tyler M Jul 24 at 21:45
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“Not about to” is pure slang. It is actually “no way I would do that!”

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  • Is there any difference between "not about to" and " not going to"? – Michael Azarenko Jul 24 at 8:56

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