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Something about to happen: If something is about to happen, it will happen very soon.

- https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/be-about-to

"My phones about to die. Luckily, I have a charger. I'll be right back."


Shouldn't we not use "about to" if we are going to not let it happen very soon? According to the definition, you use it when you think it will happen very soon. Can someone explain?

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Shouldn't we not use "about to" if we are going to not let it happen very soon?

No. "about to" says when you think it's going to happen, i.e., very soon. It assumes by default that it will happen if no one takes action to prevent it. It has nothing to do with any attempt you make to stop it from happening. You may take action or not. That doesn't affect your use of the words "about to".

That expensive vase was about to fall off the table, and it did.
That expensive vase was about to fall off the table, but someone noticed it and steadied it before it fell.

CJ

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So the usage of "about to" imples that something will happen in the near future if nothing stops it from happening? Does it sometimes imply that it will happen in the near future where nothing can stop it?


"The plane is about to crash." obviously, nothing can stop it from happening.


"The jenga tower is about to fall, somebody save it!" In this case, obviously someone can prevent it from happening.

So the usage of "about to" implies that something will happen in the near future if nothing stops it from happening?

Yes. The same is pretty much true of all statements about the future.

Does it sometimes imply that it will happen in the near future where nothing can stop it?

Of course. This is a subset of the first case. If nothing can stop it, and it will happen if nothing can stop it, then it will happen. This is just elementary logic.

CJ