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  1. #1
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    Default present continuous vs to be going to

    Dear teacher,
    I find it difficult to fully understand the actual difference between the two:Present continuous and to be going to.
    As it is explained in many books, sometimes there is a little difference between them and we can use them both to express similar meaning.
    As we know, generally, they are different in meaning(I am doing-decision,arrangemens,plan vs I am going to do-intention,no arrangements).
    As Mr. Raymond Murphy says:often the difference is very small and either form is possible(can we then say:I am meeting george tomorrow and I am going to meet george tomorrow-will they have similar meaning?would not the first imply on arrangements and the other one on intention only/no arrangements?. Can you please comment on this?
    I would particularly like to know what and how would be that little difference and would you please provide some examples showing that small difference. Otherwise I am misled due to my considering that either forms are possible no matter context.
    P.S
    I am aware of this: I am leaving at 5 o'clock(exact time shows clear arangement) and I am going to leave(without exact time-shows intention/no arrangement).And there is a question: when is it that small difference?
    Thank you very much!
    Yours faithfully,
    Lasha

  2. #2
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    With the verbs "come" and "go" you'll never use "going to"-*We are going to go.../ *They are going to come..., but-We are going.../They are coming...(present continuous).
    Also, use present continuous for an agreed meeting and "going to" for an intention or decision or a future plan. Present continuous for things you would put into your diary as a reminder, usually with verbs of movement or activity. And present continuous for a future arrangements between people, usually for near future.
    I hope this will help you some.

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    Apart from what TrustM said about 'go', the differences is really to do with appointments and their importance. If I say 'I am seeing the dentist at five', then there is no chance that I will change this.

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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    Well,you have not been helpfull,really. There is nothing more than I know:)
    Thank you anyway:)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Apart from what TrustM said about 'go', the differences is really to do with appointments and their importance. If I say 'I am seeing the dentist at five', then there is no chance that I will change this.

    Unless, of course, some unforeseen circumstance arises. One never knows what could happen. The sky could fall. Who knows?

    I'm going to see the dentist tomorrow. I'm seeing the dentist tomorrow.

    They could both be used in reference to an appointment.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    I'm going to see the dentist tomorrow. I'm seeing the dentist tomorrow.

    They could both be used in reference to an appointment.
    re: I am going to see the dentist tomorrow-how could we know we arranged the appointment? what about this then:I am going on holiday.I am staying at my friends.(I called them and they agreed-arrangement) vs I am going to stay at a hotel (I did not speak to them but I assume they will agree-intention/no arrangement)---aren't they different from each other?
    Sorry for being curious:) thank you!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    sorry,there is a correction:I am going to stay at [COLOR=Redmy friends[/COLOR] ](not a hotel)

  8. #8
    Steven D's Avatar
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    Default Re: present continuous vs to be going to

    Quote Originally Posted by lashagiorgi
    I'm going to see the dentist tomorrow. I'm seeing the dentist tomorrow.

    They could both be used in reference to an appointment.
    re: I am going to see the dentist tomorrow-how could we know we arranged the appointment? what about this then:I am going on holiday.I am staying at my friends.(I called them and they agreed-arrangement) vs I am going to stay at a hotel (I did not speak to them but I assume they will agree-intention/no arrangement)---aren't they different from each other?
    Sorry for being curious:) thank you!
    We really don't know anything. I just mean they could both be used in reference to an appointment. There's almost always more than one possibility in English.

    be going to - emphasizes intentions and is used for a plan or something that is decided - However, "be going to" can be used for spontaneous desicions as well.

    present progressive with future reference - used for something that has been decided or arranged

    They're often interchangeable.

    1. I'm leaving soon at 6 in the morning. - decided and planned - arranged

    2. I'm going to leave at 6 in the morning. - decided and planned - arranged - emphasizes the speakers intentions

    3. I'll be leaving at 6 in the morning. - decided and planned - emphasizes that the action will be in progress - continuous action
    __________________________________________________

    additional note:

    This, in my opinion, is a very fine point. To understand precisely why a speaker uses "be going to" as opposed to the present progressive, one really has to listen and understand the context. Speakers do not typically make conscious decisions about which one to use.

    There's also the choice between "will" and "be going to". Sometimes both are correct. To me, "be going to" sounds stronger and more emphatic. It can also place emphasis on the speaker's intentions. Then again, "will" often shows determination, volition, and willingness. This also means the speaker's intentions.
    Last edited by Steven D; 30-Jun-2005 at 19:11.

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