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Philippe Caquant wrote:
> But this problem is not relevant in "being about to
> take the train", since normally you are conscious in
> such a situation. To take the train is active, to be
> awaken by sth is passive.

I think the problem (for me, at least) is more semantic than
grammatical.  "About to" is rather vague, and how far in the future
"about to" can cover depends on the context.  For example (standard
idiolect disclaimer), one can say "He's about to retire" if the
retirement is a few months in the future, but "about to take the train"
implies that the train-riding  is no more than, say, 5 minutes ahead (at
least, assuming that we're referring to taking the train to work), so it
seems very strange to talk about a five minute period of time that
occurs tomorrow.  Especially if the train isn't all that punctual.  :-)

I think the time-span is largely related to how frequent the event is.
A one-time (or at least significant) event like retirement, graduation,
marriage, etc. can be "about to" for a few months, while frequent events
like waking up, going to bed, taking the train to work, etc., are much
smaller time frames, and therefore, "will about to" sounds funny for the
same reason "will have been being" does - it's perfectly grammatical,
it's just rare to need that form.

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