There is a specific situation in which the infinitive is used like an "impersonal future tense", replacing "will". This is done through the construction: to be + "to" + bare infinitive Grammatically, this is identical to the instructional "I am to wait outside" construction (above), but does not signify somebody having been issued an instruction; rather, it expresses an intended action, in the same way as "will". This "tense" is used extensively in news reports, e.g. – The Prime Minister is to visit the West Bank (active) Aid is to be sent to war-torn Darfur (passive) [2] This "future infinitive" construction is interesting in that it only has a future aspect to it in situations where the speaker is significantly distanced from the event.[3] In cases where the subject of the sentence is not quite as distanced from the speaker, then the same construction takes on a sense of instruction or necessity (as in "he is to wait outside", or "he is to go to hospital"). The same construction can be used in conditional clauses – If you are to go on holiday, then you need to work hard (or, conversely, if you want to...then you are to...). The impersonality aspect comes from the fact that the emotionless verb to be is used in the place of the more usual modal verbs which would normally connect the speaker to the statement. In this way, statements are given weight (as if some external force, rather than the speaker, is governing events). Conversely, however, the construction also provides an uncertainty aspect, since it frees the speaker from responsibility on their statement – in the phrase "John will go", for example, the speaker is almost advocating their certainty that John will, in fact, go; meanwhile, "the Prime Minister is to go" simply states the knowledge that the PM's going is in some way foreseen. (If John ends up not going, for example, the "will go" construction is negated, while the PM's "to go" construction would still hold true, since all it expresses is an expectation). In both cases, the knowledge is simply being reported (or pretends to be) from an independent source. In this sense, this impersonal to + verb construction can almost be seen as a fledgeling renarrative mood. Comparison to other linguistic classifications [edit]Weather verb Some linguists consider the impersonal subject of a weather verb to be a "dummy pronoun", while others interpret it differently. Adjectives of zero valence are mainly the adjectives referring to weather such as “winding” and ”raining” and so on. In some languages such as Mandarin Chinese, weather verbs like snow(s) take no subject or object.[15] [edit]Impersonal pronoun Impersonal verbs take neither subject nor object, as with other null subject languages, but again the verb may show incorporated dummy pronouns despite the lack of subject and object phrases.[16] As with impersonal verbs, impersonal pronouns also functions without reference to a person in particular. In English, one can also function in an impersonal and objective manner. One would [You'd] think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. The young comedian was awful; one felt embarrassed for him. If one fails, then one must try harder next time. When the pronoun one is used in the numerical sense, a different pronoun can be used subsequently to referring to the same entity. We watched as one [of the ospreys] dried its feathers in the sun. One [driver] pulled her car over to the side. Generally, it is not ideal to mix the impersonal pronoun one with another pronoun in the same sentence.[17] If one fails, then he/you must simply try harder. [edit]Null objects While the concept of impersonal verbs is closely related to phenomenon of null subjects, null objects has to do with the lack of the obligatory projection of an object position.[18] In French C'est pas lui qui l'a ecrit, son livre, le pape, c'est quelqu'un qui lui ecrit __.... The Pope didn't write his book himself, someone writes __ for him. In English Why then do the psychic gifts often seem to tease__, confuse __ and obstruct__? Null objects occur with anaphoric Direct Objects, that is, those whose referents can be understood from the prior or ongoing discourse context as well as sufficiently salience in that context to be encoded pronominally. However, it is not imperative that the Direct Object referent must have been previously referred to linguistically in the discourse; it could instead be accessible due to its perceptual salience to the interlocutors extra-linguistically during communication.[19] [edit]Defective verb An impersonal verb is different from a defective verb in that with an impersonal verb, only one possible syntactical subject is meaningful (either expressed or not), whereas with a defective verb, certain choices of subject might not be grammatically possible, because the verb does not have a complete conjugation.