Retired English Teacher
As I said in an earlier post, "I also feel that, in certain situations the difference in meaning between the present progressive and the BE+going+to future is so slight as to be almost non-existent".
However, in the following pair, there is a difference. The second part of #1 cannnot refer to the future; the second part of#2 can refer only to the future:
1. I'm not going to the pub; it's raining.
2. I'm not going to the pub; it's going to rain.
My own feeling is that, in this particular example, there is little practical difference in meaning between the first four. However, the fifth, I will take my driving test on Monday seems to be different. I think that there is here an assertion of certainty, determination ans/or of volition that is not present in the others. If the idea is is simply to report on the the future taking of the test, then I think that few native speakers would produce that.
I feel that many course books place too much emphasis on a difference between the various ways of expressing the future; frequently it is possible to use any one of two, three or more ways, with little pratical difference. However, this is not always the case, as I showed in #11 , and my own feeling is that to say there is 'rarely' a difference between them is to mislead learners.
As far as the likelihood/determination/volition etc of the event actually happening is concerned, I find no difference at all.
I'm more than willing to concede though that so many other native speakers do hear/read this nuance, that it must be me who is missing something.
I think it depends on how much emphasis is placed on the "will." "I WILL pay my taxes on Monday" vs. "I'll pay my taxes on Monday."However, the fifth,I will take my driving test on Monday seems to be different. I think that there is here an assertion of certainty, determination ans/or of volition that is not present in the others. If the idea is is simply to report on the the future taking of the test, then I think that few native speakers would produce that.
The first one, to me, has a strong volition. The second, not really.
Let's lok at a different example:
Fred: I need to go now: The airport bus leaves at ten.
Bill: Oh, don't worry, I .......... take you.
Several forms can be used, but, for me, "I'm taking you" and "I'm going to take" you' suggest that Bill has already made the decision (or somebody else has made it for him), while "I'll take you" suggests an offer made at the time, the 'instant decision' of some books. All three (and other) forms are possible, and, unless Fred declines, all result in Bill taking Fred to the airport. That does'mean that they have exactly the same meaning.
Since, however, the use of 'will' here would hardly seriously impede communication, many natives, even teachers, will simply not bother to comment on it. Nevertheless you ought to be aware that, no matter how convincing your pronunciation may be, if you persistently use 'will' for this kind of sentence (as for stating planned future actions instead of 'be going to' or the present progressive), you will forever mark yourself out as a learner!
Last edited by philo2009; 18-Apr-2012 at 08:52.