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In regard to the construction "be + infinitive", which is usually used for the purpose of giving an instruction, is it still acceptable to use it to express that intention in the continuous form as in the examples below?

The boss writes that we are all to be waiting in the office for his arrival on Monday morning.

But is it still grammatical to use the continuous form in more or less passive sentences? such as:

I was to watch/be watching the entrance gate should anyone suspicious be lurking around the area.

or

As instructed by my teacher I am to study/to be studying right now.

  • I would say that it is possible, but awkward and unusual. Most cases I can think of that sound like it are really to be + adjective, as "You are to be standing there when I arrive". – Colin Fine Jul 31 '16 at 9:48
  • The construction be + infinitive" means *be expected/supposed. Your first sentence is possible, the second does not make sense for me, and the third is fine. – Abbasi Jan 1 '17 at 16:06
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The question is rather confused. You mention do/be, continuous, passive and the "is to be doing" form .

First, "be" is not a continuous form of "do". They are quite separate verbs. However, "be" does form the continuous tense "be playing", for example.

The continuous form is acceptable; however, it is not normally required: The simple infinitive carries the same meaning.

A sentence can't be "more or less passive". Either it uses a passive construction or it doesn't. An example of a passive form would be:

The food is to be eaten by the customer.

The examples you give are correct, but not passive.

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It really just depends on what exactly you want to say and in which way.

Like,

The boss writes that we are all to be waiting in the office for his arrival on Monday morning.

If you use this form, you are expression that when something happened, another thing ought to be happening, which gives an appropriate sense to reader.

But in this sentence;

I was to watch/be watching the entrance gate should anyone suspicious be lurking around the area.

Since, be watching is the continuos form, reader expects something,

I was to be watching the entrance gate when the bomb exploded.

And it is more than just an expectation, it is an grammatical rule, since the meaning wouldn't make any sense.

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