I am about to die vs. I am going to die
A usage-based comparison between two future-indicating constructions
This study portrays be about to as a construction which, although frequently described as nearly synonymous to be going to, falls somewhere in between the categories of futurate forms and ingressive aspectualizers. Constructional properties that distinguish be about to from be going to are worked out on the basis of several sources: The Oxford English Dictionary serves as testimony to the diachronic stages the two constructions passed through. For a detailed comparison of synchronic semantico-functional characteristics, large sets of data retrieved from the BNC are subjected to collostructional analysis. The results of these procedures converge in indicating that be about to has moved closer to ingressive aspectualizers, profiling the lead-up section to the onset of an event.