+0
Hi,

I was wondering if there was any difference between the two forms of future.

I'm getting married in two days. I'm gonna get married in two days.

I'm leaving on 20th August. I'm gonna leave on 20th August.

Would you feel that there is any difference? Could you think of any situation one way to put it would sound unnatural or can it be used interchangeable in every case?

Thanks in advance
1 2
Comments  
Yes. There is a difference. The present progressive used for a future event suggests something already planned or scheduled. The "going to" form can also suggest this, but also, contrary to the present progressive, can be used when the plan is formulated almost instantly as the sentence is uttered.

For example, if someone offends you deeply, you might say, in the heat of the moment, "I'm going to beat the cr*p out of you for saying that." You are almost certainly not going to say, "I'm beating the cr*p out of you for saying that."

Similarly, if you get an unexpectedly high phone bill, you might immediately say, "I'm going to complain about this bill". Less likely is "I'm complaining about this bill". Later, when recounting the situation with a friend, you might say "I'm complaining about my phone bill" OR "I'm going to complain about my phone bill".

That's why "I'm getting married in two days" sounds more natural than "I'm going to get married in two days". (In the second sentence there is the possibility, however remote, that you just thought of the idea. A wedding takes a bit more planning than that!) Both are acceptable, however, in the situation where the wedding has been planned for a long while, so the differences can be very subtle.

Not everyone will agree with these interpretations. Let's see what others say.

CJ
Thanks for the the clear explanation, CalifJim.

Can you help me out with one more question ?

What's is the difference between "will be -ing" and "be -ing" ?

I see a lot of sentence like this "I will be going to church in half an hour" in spoken English.

Thanks a lot in advance.
Try out our live chat room.
Hello

I'm an English learner from Japan. Future forms in English are very messy to me too. Lately I have earnestly studied the differences between <is doing>, <is going to do> and <will be doing> in various occasions, by reading online articles and posting questions in places like here. Nevertheless I didn't get to the complete understanding of their differences yet. One thing I noticed about them is that the sense of each form is highly context-dependent. That is, the exact sense of each form can vary with the factors such as what aspect the infinite verb has, whether the subject is equal to the speaker or not, and whether there is any time adverbial or not. The following is a notion I have now about the difference between <is doing> and <is going to do>.

<is doing>

This form is used to describe an event, which, at least in the speaker's mind, is already on going. It is more than an event under planning. For example, when a speaker says "She is getting married", the speaker knows that she has already undertaken some preparations necessary to marry. This notion does not vary with whoever the subject is. When a speaker says "I am marrying him this autumn", we can imagine the speaker and he both have consented to marry and they are now doing some preparations for the marriage.

<is going to do>

The form <is going to do> is used to describe an event about which the speaker has some evidence enough to predict that it will take a place in near future with a high likelihood. When the subject is the speaker, <is going to do> and <is doing> are almost the same semantically, though <is doing> sounds more factual, that is, more certain about its taking place. When we hear a woman saying "I am going to marry him", we could feel the woman has any evidence to support her prospect but at the same time we could feel there is some possibility that the marriage actually doesn't take place.
paco
Thanks a lot for these answers. I always read that they were the same, but I've never believed that. That#s sort of a proof Emotion: smile

Maybe, further opinions about this topic.

Many thanks
Hi. Can anybody else please comment on that?
Maybe give further explanations or just confirmations?

edit: Maybe another question. Does progressive future mean that there future action was already started but the actual action hasnt taken place yet? So, just preparations have taken plae so far, but not the actual event?

Thanks
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I have one thing to add. To use a present progressive sentence for future sense, we have to give any time adverbial connoting future in the sentence.

Professor MrP is giving a lecture on Greek literature tomorrow morning. [future]
Professor MrP is giving a lecture in his class for Greek literature. [genuine present progressive]
paco
So, I'd say a question regarding this topic.

Let's imagine the following situation.
My mom says that she wants me to come, but I'm sitting in front of my PC. So I say: I'm coming. Or just coming!

Can it mean I'm coming now like I'm DRAWING a picture at the moment or I'm coming in like 2 seconds?

I'm asking because it makes a difference if I say that I'll come soon and just finish something or f I'm already coming at the moment she calls me.

thanks
Hello GT

Your question is interesting. Personally I feel 'I'm coming' is semantically the same as 'I'm about to come', but in the mind of the speaker, it would be 'I'm now on the process of coming'. Anyway the question is too difficult to give a right answer for me. I too would like to hear opinions from native speakers.

paco
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more