I was reading a vocabulary book came across with:

  1. The excellent soup was harbinger of the delicious meal to follow.

I am confused of the "to follow". I know we can say "a delicious meal to eat" which conveys that it is a delicious meal for eating purposes!. However, I think the author tries to convey a sequence of actions happening subsequently one after another, e.i., first soup is eaten and then an awesome meal is waiting for us!. If not, why the author didn't say:

  1. The excellent soup was harbinger of the following delicious meal.

In brief,

Q1: Is there any difference between 1 and 2?

Q2: Given to the context, does "delicious meal to follow" mean:

There must be a good meal after this awesome soup. I'd better to stay and wait for the meal.(You talk to yourself and draw a conclusion based on the soup quality, speaking with doubt).

1 Answer 1


Yes, there is a difference.

...something to follow.


...something that is/was to follow.

which essentially points out that 'something' has not yet occurred/appeared at the time of speaking, but was expected (modal use of the verb "be", omitted there).

As far as the soup in the sentence, it was likely good, as much as to introduce the rest of the meal, to be its announcer.

When 'to follow' is replaced with the plain 'following' it does not describe the feeling of being unrealized yet anticipated the 'to follow' indicates.

  • so, I was right about the author's intent, draw conclusion based on current observations .. .?
    – Cardinal
    Oct 17, 2015 at 18:14
  • @Cardinal: don't rush into accepting any answer. Give other folks a chance to put their best foot forward. Wait at least a day, then accept. I don't mind you accepted my answer, but what if it's not right? Others need to have an opportunity to review it, to upvote, maybe, or downvote. Oct 17, 2015 at 20:11
  • Bazaref : Thanks for your advice but I saw your advice completely randomly. I am very busy these days and I hardly can wait to investigate answers. I do agree with you. However, I've seen your answers before. I know you somehow.
    – Cardinal
    Oct 17, 2015 at 23:21

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