3 differences of present continuous means future & near future

by Johnny Jacks
In the lesson, we will discuss the Present Continuous tense used to indicate future actions. Goodheathplan.com will assist you in recognizing the distinctions between this structure and the Near Future tense, based on certain characteristics related to degree, time, and the speaker’s intended emphasis within the sentence.

Present Continuous Tense for Future & Near Future

To begin with, it is essential for students to comprehend why it is necessary to differentiate between these two tenses. This distinction is crucial to prevent confusion when engaging in exercises or expressing opinions during communication.

Present Continuous Tense for Future

Definition: The Present Continuous tense for the near future refers to a plan or intention that has been prearranged and has a specific time frame.


Sentence type


For example


S + am/ is/ are + V-ing

I am going picnic this weekend.

(I’m going to have a picnic this weekend)


S + am/ is/ are not +V-ing

I’m not going picnic this weekend.

(I won’t go on a picnic this weekend.)


Am/ Is/ Are + S + V-ing?

Are you going picnic this weekend?

(Are you going to have a picnic on the weekend?)


Question word + am/ is/ are + S + V-ing?

When are you going to picnic? (When are you going to have a picnic?)

Near Future Tense

Definition: The near future tense is used to describe an action that has a definite plan or intention for the future. It is typically used in the following scenarios:

  1. When facts or arrangements have been decided before speaking.
  2. To predict an event that will occur in the future based on present evidence and signs.
  3. To denote an event or action that is scheduled to happen in the near future.


Sentence type

Regular verbs

Verb “to be”


S + is/ am/ are + going to + V-inf

He is going to get married this year.

(He plans to get married next year).


S + is/ am/ are + not + going to + V-inf

He is going to get married this year.

(He doesn’t plan to get married next year.)


Is/ Am/ Are + S + going to + V

Is he going to get married this year? (Will he get married next year?)

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Therefore, in terms of structure, these two tenses exhibit considerable similarity, with both conveying the idea of an action or event unfolding in the future. However, the nature of these actions and events differs. The following section will elucidate three distinctions between these two constructs.

Three Differences between Present Continuous for Future and Near Future Tenses

When you wish to discuss an event or action set to occur in the future, you have the option to employ either the near future tense or the present continuous tense. Nevertheless, it is essential to take note of the following three distinctions and select the appropriate tense to match the context:

Emphasis by the Speaker:

If the speaker intends to emphasize the intention behind the action, they will utilize the near future tense.

Example: “I am going to visit my parents this weekend.”

Explanation: Emphasis on the time “this weekend,” signifying the weekend as the intended period for visiting grandparents.

If the emphasis is on the action itself, then the present continuous tense is preferred.

Example: “I am visiting my parents this weekend.”

Explanation: Emphasis on the action of “visiting my parents,” indicating the speaker’s plans to visit their grandparents during the weekend.

Degree of Certainty of the Event:

Depending on what the speaker wishes to emphasize, you will observe that when the speaker focuses on the action, the event is more likely to transpire because it is guaranteed to occur in the future. However, the exact timing may vary from what the speaker initially mentioned. Consequently, using the present continuous tense bestows a higher degree of certainty upon the action.

Commencement Time of the Action (Early – Late):

In the present continuous tense, when the speaker underscores the action, they imply that the event will take place in the near future. Conversely, when the emphasis is on the timing, the near future tense is employed to assert that the action will only be certain to transpire at the specified time.

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Exercises present continuous tense meaning future

Exercise 1: Give the correct form of the verbs in brackets

1. I did really well in the interview, so I ______ (start) a new job on Monday.

2. My wife and I ______ (have) a party this weekend. We’ve already bought the drinks and sent the invitations.

3. Celia ______ (move) to Chicago later this month. She got a job there.

4. Marla ______ (come) to the meeting today. She has to catch a flight at 2.30 pm

5. What ______ (do) on Friday evening? Do you want to catch a movie?

6. When ______ (be) Giulia ______ (come) to visit us? I miss her.

7. Why ______ (join) us on this trip? You’re a great travel companion, and we’d love to have you there!

8. We ______ (go) shopping later today to buy Shawn a gift. Do you want to tag along?

9. I ______ (stay) at the MGM in Las Vegas. I booked a room two months ago to get a good rate.

10. I can’t wait to get to France. We ______ (take) a tour around the South to visit the wineries.

Lesson 2: Choose the best sentence

1. A. I’m going to a festival this weekend.

B. I’m going to a festival this weekend.

C. I’ll go to a festival this weekend.

2. A. She’s not coming to the party.

B. She aren’t coming to the party.

C. She isn’t coming to the party.

3. A. What are you doing tomorrow night?

B. What are you doing tomorrow evening?

C. Where are you going tomorrow night?

4. A. James often arrives at noon.

B. We are taking the bus to school every day.

C. Tim is working at the moment.

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5. A. What time she is coming?

B. What time is he coming?

C. What time are you coming?

6. A. We are going to Scotland this weekend.

B. We go to Scotland this weekend.

C. We are going to Scotland this weekend.

7. A. Where spend Childmast this year?

B. Where are you going to spend Christmas this year?

C. Where are you spending Christmas this year?

8. A. Louise is not arriving until six o’clock this evening.

B. Louise is not arriving until six o’clock this evening.

C. Louise is not going to arrive until six o’clock this evening.

9. A. Why aren’t you coming to the party on Friday night?

B. Why aren’t you going to come the party on Friday night?

C. Why isn’t you coming to the party on Friday night?

10. A. We aren’t going to do anything special tomorrow night.

B. We isn’t going anything special tomorrow night.

C. We aren’t doing anything special tomorrow night.


Lesson 1:

1. am starting

2. are having

3. is moving

4. is not coming

5. are you doing

6. is Gulia coming

7. aren’t you joining

8. are going

9. am staying

10. are taking

Lesson 2:


2 C


4. OLD


6. A

7. OLD

8. A

9. A

10. OLD

Thus, with the above sharing, students have been added to the expanded knowledge of the present continuous tense meaning the future. With the accompanying exercises, Monkey hopes you will absorb this grammar well.

Study well!

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