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Grammar: Present Continuous, Future Simple vs. Be going to

Hi there, and welcome back to another free episode of The Art of Business English. This week and next week we will be focusing on some grammar for you, to help you better understand how to use future tenses.

There are several future tenses in English and we apply them in different scenarios, contexts or situations. Knowing how to use them correctly will make your English sound more fluent and native.

Today, we are looking at the differences between the present continuous, future simple and be going to.

In this episode I will explain in which situations we use each future clause, then I will provide you with some examples.

Let’s jump in and take a look. 

Watch the episode here

Present Continuous

We use the present continuous to talk about plans or definite arrangements for the future:

We're staying in a small hotel. (we have made the arrangements)

Notice that time expressions are used or understood from the context in order to show that we are talking about the future (and not the present):

The manager is having a party just after we get back (time expression given)

We're meeting four executives when we are there. (future time expression understood)

Future Simple

We use the future simple for:

  • Decisions made at the time of speaking: My phone is ringing! I will answer it.
  • Predictions: Look at the sky, I think it will rain in a while.
  • Promises: I will show you how to paint the room.
  • Threats: I will confiscate your phone if you do not help me right now!
  • Talking about future facts: This new course will help you to improve your English skills.
  • Offering to do something for someone: I will wash the dishes for you.
  • Asking someone to do something: Will you send me the photos, please?

Be going to

We use be going to for:

  • Future plans: I am going to the theatre tonight.
  • Predictions for the near future based on present situations or evidence: Your phone battery is low; it is going to run out really soon.

Some time expressions often used with the Future Simple and Be going to are: This…, tonight, this evening, tomorrow…, next…, at the weekend, in…, in a few…. and on….

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are some unique differences between the present continuous, future simple and be going to. It is important to note that most people will still understand you if you use the future incorrectly, however, sounding fluent and native should be our object to help avoid any communication issues.

Be sure to take a look at my general English courses if you are interested in improving your grammar and vocabulary. We cover this grammar and so much more. You can enrol in my courses below.

Before I go, make sure you stay with me for next week’s episode where I am going to be covering some more advanced future forms. Till then, take care. 

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Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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