English tenses

Future plans

Future plan

In addition to the simple future we can talk about future events by using either:

  • the present continuous, or
  • to be (in the simple present) + going to +verb.

These two forms are used to talk about future plans. There are, however, some differences between the two forms.

1. The present continuous for future plans:

The present continuous is used when we say what we have planned and arranged to do at a specific time in the future. These are fixed plans with definite time and/or place.


  • I'm doing my homework this evening.
  • I'm starting university in September.
  • Sally is meeting John at seven o'clock this evening in a restaurant downtown.

2. To be + going to + verb:

A. We use 'going to' to express the future when we intend to do something or have decided to do something but did not arrange it. It is just an intention.


  • A: The windows are dirty.
    B: Yes I know. I'm going to clean them later.
    = I've decided to clean them ,but I haven't arranged to clean them.

B. We also use 'going to' to make predictions.

  • Watch out! you are going to break the glass.
  • It's so cloudy! I think it's going to rain.
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