Clarification on an example contrasting the “BE going to ɪɴꜰɪɴɪᴛɪᴠᴇ” future with the “BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing” future

I’ve been looking at the difference in sentences that express
future events: those using “BE going to
versus those using “BE ᴠᴇʀʙ-ing”
(sometimes called the present continuous or present progressive).

If I understand correctly, the difference is:

  1. The BE going to ɪɴꜰɪɴɪᴛɪᴠᴇ form is used for future plans (or events) that are certain:

    I am going to study physics.

  2. The BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing (present continuous) form is used for future appointments or arrangements:

    I am meeting Jane on Tuesday.

One of the comparison examples I found in a video is the following:

Future using “BE going to ɪɴꜰɪɴɪᴛɪᴠᴇ” Future using “BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing”
1 I am going to show her around the town. I am showing her around the town this afternoon.
2 She is going to study Psychology. She is studying Psychology at college next year.
3 He is going to see his lawyer next week. He is meeting his lawyer on Tuesday.
4 They are going to meet again soon. They are meeting at 1 o’clock tomorrow.

My problem with that table is in the third example:

He is going to see his lawyer next week.

Why did the presenter use the BE going to ɪɴꜰɪɴɪᴛɪᴠᴇ future
in example ⑶ instead of the BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing future?

Isn’t this a meeting at a specific date (next week)?

If that sentence is correct, then why does She is studying Psychology
at college next year.
use the BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing present continuous
form? How does next week differ from next year?

Another quick question

I assume that in They are going to meet again soon, it is expressing
the future using BE going to ɪɴꜰɪɴɪᴛɪᴠᴇ future because soon is
not a specific date to license the BE ᴠᴇʀʙ‑ing way of expressing it.

Am I correct?


For the present continuous to be used as future, a fairly specific future time needs to be stated (i.e. “someday” would not work). It doesn’t have to be so specific, just not totally vague like “someday.”

For the “going to” construction, it does not matter if you mention a future time or not, as future is implied. Also you can mention a future time whether specific or not (“someday” works fine).

I assume They are going to meet again soon. is “Going to” future because “soon” is not a specific date. Correct?

“They are meeting again soon” would actually be fine too, but is not likely to be used often. But “They are meeting again someday” would not. There it would need to be “They are going to meet again someday.” Or, of course, you can use the explicit future tense: “They will meet again someday.”

A phrase I think is commonly used that is present continuous as future is “I’m moving soon” or “I am moving soon,” like in “I’m moving to Dallas soon.” So you can use “soon” with present continuous as future.

Source : Link , Question Author : Youssef , Answer Author : developerwjk

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