future: present progressive and going to

We use these two present tenses to talk about future actions and events which are already decided now; they are planned, or they are starting to happen: we can see them coming.

  • Present progressive
  • We often say that something is happening in the future. We talk like this about actions that are already planned; we often give the time or date.

      What are you doing this evening?
      We’re going to Mexico next summer.
      I’m having dinner with Larry on Saturday.

  • going to
  • We can also say that something is going to happen in the future.
    a. We can use going to in the same way as the present progressive: to talk
    about plans and arrangements.

      I’m going to get a new car soon.
      John’s going to call in this evening.
      When are you going to get your hair cut?

    b. We can also use going to to say that a future action or event is ‘on the
    way’ — we can see it coming; it is starting to happen.

      She’s going to have a baby. It’s going to rain.
      He’s going to fall!

    Present Future
    He’s going to fall!
    > For a comparison between the present forms and shall/wili, see 136.3.
    She s going to have a baby
    It’s going to rain