Present simple and present continuous vs going to
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Future: will, present simple, present continuous and going to
Be going to
1. Be going to is used for intentions. We use it for decisions that we made before the moment of speaking.
I am going to clean the car and you can pack the suitcase. (I have decided how to do it.)
We are going to reconstruct our house. (We intend to do it in the near future.)
2. It is also used to express our opinion that something is certain to happen. There is evidence for our prediction.
Our team is going to win. (It is 4:0 and two minutes left. I am sure we will win the match.)
The planes are going to land. (You can see that they are coming closer and closer to the airport.)
Present continuous for future
1. The present continuous is used for our future arrangements and personal plans. The time must also be mentioned, otherwise the sentence would not have a future meaning.
I am watching TV tonight. (It's my definite plan.)
My sister is seeing the dentist tomorrow morning. (She has arranged the time and place.)
The continuous is more informal. It is the most usual way of expressing our personal plans.
Sometimes we can use both forms, but with a slightly different meaning.
I am leaving on Sunday. (I myself have arranged everything to leave on Sunday.)
I leave on Sunday. (Someone else has planned this for me.)
Present simple for future
1. With time expressions (on Friday, next week) the present simple is typically used in official schedules and timetables. The time must be mentioned, otherwise the sentence would not have a future meaning.
The new shopping centre opens on 1 March.
The bus arrives at 6.55.
2. It can also describe future arrangements which are scheduled by someone else.
I leave on Monday and Ben leaves on Tuesday. (About business trips planned by our boss.)
You have a dancing lesson tomorrow night. (My mum arranged this lesson for me.)
Sometimes we can use all of these structures with a little difference in meaning.
I am travelling to France in May. (my personal arrangements)
I travel to France in May. (someone's plans for me)
I am going to travel to France in May. (my personal intentions)
Future simple tense
See also how the future simple is used to talk about future.