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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 22nd, 2007, 04:13 pm
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Red face Will vs going to vs present continuous

Hi,
A student of mine the other day had some exercises where she had to choose which of the above to put in the sentence. I know will is used for predictions, or future decisions made at the time of talking, and going to is for plans made before talking, but what about present continuous? I could work out which one it should be in most of the sentences, but in some I couldnīt see any difference between going to and the present continuous. Does anyone know the rules?
Thanks
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 23rd, 2007, 01:50 am
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

Hi,

I teach that we use present continuous when there is a fixed appointment, something is booked etc.

For example,

1.I'm going to play squash with Alex next week.
2.I'm playing squash with Alex on Friday at 15.00

For me (1.) this means that you have the intention to do it, although nothing has been confirmed.
(2.) on the other hand means that you've booked the court and this appointment is confirmed.

I give my students a diary and a list of future actions. They have to decide which of the actions they could realistically put in the diary. Those would then be the present continuous.
eg
meet Michael \ 17.00 \ Tuesday
relax
clean bathroom
take son to dentist \ tomorrow morning
pay phone bill
play in tennis final \ this evening \ 18.30

Relax, clean bathroom and pay phone bill are not really things you'd write in your diary as an appointment or arrangement. It would be strange to say "Tomorrow I'm relaxing in the afternoon" Instead it's just an intention. "Tomorrow I'm going to relax"

Meet Michael. When? At 17.00 on Tuesday. This is a confirmed appointment that you can write in the diary. Therefore "On Tuesday at 17.00 I'm meeting Michael" The same for the dentist's appointment and the tennis final.

Hope this helps.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Feb 23rd, 2007, 06:33 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

You need to keep in mind that verbs never refer to future events in English - they always see the event from the standpoint of the present. The present continous describes an on-going temporary event happening around the present moment - the event has started, not yet finished, but there is a predictable end. So for example : Where's John? / He's working in Rome this week. The event started on Monday, it's now Wednesday and the end is predicted for Friday. You could represent it with this timeline :

A /------------------B-----------------/C

where A is the start of the action (Monday), B is the present moment (Wednesday) and C is the predicted end (Friday). (Contrast this with He works in Rome which has no predicted end)

When I say I'm meeting John next Friday, it's actually the same thing. For English grammar, an event starts when it's arranged. So - A (the start of the event) is the moment I made the appointment, B is the moment of speaking and C (the end of the event) is the actual meeting with John on Friday. The verb expresses the present situation - a meeting with John is on-going in the sense of being arranged but not yet completed.

For will and be going to, which both express the concepts of prediction and volition but in different ways, see two articles here and here.

I don't completely agree with Clive when he says :

Quote:
Quote clivehawkins
Hi,

1.I'm going to play squash with Alex next week.
2.I'm playing squash with Alex on Friday at 15.00

For me (1.) this means that you have the intention to do it, although nothing has been confirmed.
(2.) on the other hand means that you've booked the court and this appointment is confirmed.
.
If you have the intention of doing something, and then make a firm arrangement, it doesn't mean that you no longer have the intention. In this case, the event is both an intention and an arrangement. So you could use either, depending on how you wanted to present it - or what you wanted to "mean"
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 14th, 2008, 05:03 pm
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

hello guys

so happy to have found this forum, because I have problems with these forms too
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Unread Apr 14th, 2008, 05:05 pm
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

could you tell me when/if? it should be possible to use both: either going to or present continuous without any change in meaning? does such an example exist?
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Unread Jan 18th, 2017, 09:00 am
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

I really like using future holidays to talk about the different future forms.

There are fixed arrangements when you need the present continuous.
I'm flying from Heathrow
We're staying with friends
We're coming back on the 17th

There are plans which you can describe with going to do.
I'm going to swim every day
We're going to visit the Taj Mahal
I'm not going to think about work at all

And you can use will to talk about possible changes to the plan.
What will you do if it rains?
What will you do if it is very touristy?
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread May 6th, 2017, 11:48 pm
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Default Re: Will vs going to vs present continuous

Sharing some notes I have on this topic:

The Basic Rule of WILL and GOING TO:

We use ‘going to’ to talk about something we have planned. ‘going to’ = ‘planning to’

But...

We use ‘will’ to talk about a spontaneous or unplanned future event.

For example:

He is going to buy a new car. (He is planning to buy a new car)
I think I will take the bus today. (I have just decided)

Other uses:

When we want to talk about future facts or things we believe to be true about the future, we use 'will'.

The boss won't be very happy.
I'm sure you'll like her.
I'm certain he'll finish it today.

If we are not so certain about the future, we use 'will' with expressions such as 'probably', 'possibly', 'I think', 'I hope'.

She'll probably be a big star someday.
I'll try to come but I may not get back in time.
I think we'll get on well.

If you are making a future prediction based on evidence in the present situation, use 'going to'.

The sky is clear. It's going to be sunny day.
The traffic is terrible. We're going to miss our flight.
Be careful! You're going to spill your coffee.

However, both "will" and "be going to" can express the idea of a general prediction about the future.

It looks like she's going to win.
It looks like she'll win.


Notes are from: HERE

Practice quiz: HERE
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