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    #1

    I think we're going to visit this place again

    Hello,

    I came across this test question the other day:

    We had a great holiday. I think we will / are going to visit this place some time again.

    Students are supposed to choose between will/be going to (and there's no other context). Bearing in mind the test compiler obviously wanted to get 'will' as the correct answer because of "I think", is that a good test question?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: I think we're going to visit this place again

    It is not; 'are going to' is perfectly acceptable.

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    #3

    Re: I think we're going to visit this place again

    Thank you! That's what I thought myself. Your article on ways of expressing the future made me far more aware of how rigid some rules are.

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    #4

    Re: I think we're going to visit this place again

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello,

    I came across this test question the other day:

    We had a great holiday. I think we will / are going to visit this place some time again.

    Students are supposed to choose between will/be going to (and there's no other context). Bearing in mind the test compiler obviously wanted to get 'will' as the correct answer because of "I think", is that a good test question?
    I don't really object to either form, but on a test, I would choose "will". By the rules, not always pertinent, the present continuous form is used for future events that are already planned. This one obviously is not.

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    #5

    Re: I think we're going to visit this place again

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I don't really object to either form, but on a test, I would choose "will". By the rules, not always pertinent, the present continuous form is used for future events that are already planned. This one obviously is not.
    While technically BE going (to) is the present progressive of GO, we normally treat it as distinct from the present progressive of the verb itself. Thus we would generally refer to 'I am visiting' as the present progressive aspect of VISIT, and 'I am going to visit' as the BE going to future.

    The present progressive is generally used for a present arrangement (of limited duration) for a future situation. BE going to is used of a future situation for which there is present evidence. That present evidence may include an intention/arrangement in the speaker's mind (which is why, in practical terms, there is sometimes no real difference in meaning between the present progressive and BE going to).

    In Verona's We had a great holiday. I think we are going to visit this place some time again, it is possible that the speaker, at the very moment of speaking, has evidence in his/her mind of the future visit. As Verona noted, what are often presented as rules are in fact too rigid. Whilst one of the five or more ways of expressing the future may be more likely and, occasionally, one or more may be very unlikely, there are often more possibilities than test-compilers allow for.

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    #6

    Re: I think we're going to visit this place again

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    . Your article on ways of expressing the future made me far more aware of how rigid some rules are.
    Ways of Expressing the Future in English



    Just don't fall into the trap of thinking my advice is perfect. I am arrogant enough to think it is less imperfect than the 'rules' given in many coursebooks and student grammars, but none of us can see exactly what is going on in a speaker's mind at the moment of speaking. What we who write on grammar try to do is explain how native speakers appear to use various forms. However, more words are spoken/written by native speakers every single day than have been written in the last century on English grammar. Even if 99% of what is produced seems to fit in with what we say, that still leaves a few million utterances every day that we haven't accounted for.

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