Forme

Quand on parle du futur immédiat, on peut utiliser une construction composée de trois éléments:
le verbe "to be", conjugué au présent, + about + l'infinitif du verbe principal

Sujet + to be + about (ou just about) + infinitif
I am about to be sick
They are about to arrive.
It is just about to explode.
To leave, dans un futur immédiat
Affirmatif Négatif Interrogatif Interrogatif Négatif
I am about to leave. I am not about to leave. Am I about to leave? Am I not about to leave?
You are about to leave. You are not about to leave. Are you about to leave? Aren't you about to leave?
He is about to leave. He is not about to leave. Is he about to leave? Isn't he about to leave?
We are about to leave. We aren't about to leave. Are we about to leave? Aren't we about to leave?
They are about to leave. They aren't about to leave. Are they about to leave? Aren't they about to leave?

Fonction

Cette construction se réfère à un moment situé immédiatement après l'instant présent et souligne qu'un événement ou une action aura lieu très bientôt. On ajoute souvent avec le mot just avant le mot about, qui met l'accent sur l’instantanéité de l'action.

Exemples
  • She is about to cry.
  • You are about to see something very unusual.
  • I am about to go to a meeting.
  • We are just about to go inside.
  • Sally is just about to jump off that diving board.

Cette composition peut également s'utiliser avec le passé simple de to be à la place du présent, pour désigner une action qui était imminente, mais qui a été interrompue. Dans de tel cas, elle est souvent suivie ou précédée d'une proposition introduite par when.

Exemples
  • She was about to leave when Jim arrived.
  • When it started to rain, I was about to go out for a walk.
  • I was just about to call her when she walked in.
  • The car was just about to flip over when he regained control.