Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Going To And Present Continuous

Going To vs Present Continuous

Difference between going to and present continuous is that ‘going to’ is used for future tenses and present continuous is the present tense.
Present Continuous

Present continuous is used for an action that is going on at the time of speaking. Example, she is playing or the boys are playing football.
Present Continuous is used for a temporary action which may not be actually happening at the time of speaking. For Example, she is reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’. This refers to her reading the book but not reading at the time of speaking.
It is used for an action that is going to take place in the near future. For Example, she is going to sing tonight.
Present Continuous is used with adverb like always, constantly. It is used in place of Simple Present when the reference is to a particularly obstinate habit. For example, my brother is very silly; he is always breaking stuff.
In Present Continuous form, some verbs, on account of their meaning are not used.

Verbs of perception-see, hear, smell. It is incorrect to say I am hearing you. It should be I hear you.
Verbs of appearing-appear, look. It is incorrect to say she is seeming happy. The correct way to say it is she seems happy.
Verbs of emotions-want, wish, desire etc. She is wanting a cellphone is incorrect; she wants a cell phone is correct.
Verbs of thinking-trust, agree, think etc. She is trusting me is incorrect use, she trusts me is correct.
To have-words like possess, belong to etc. She is having a cell phone is incorrect, she has a cell phone is correct.

Going To Form

Going to is used when we have decided to do something before talking about it. For example, “Have you decided what to do?”-“Yes. I am going to quit the job today.” The main thing to remember in the going to form is that, the decision should have been made and all the preparations done to do the act.
It is used to talk about something going to happen in future depending upon the present. It is going to rain, look at the clouds.
It is used to show an action at the point of happening. Get in the train, it is going to leave.


1.Going to form is used in future tense; present continuous is used as a present tense.
2.Going to form is used for actions which have been decided and preparations have been made for them to happen; 3.“going to” in present continuous is used for an action which tells us about the near future.
4.Present continuous conveys a sense of a plan. Going to states an arrangement that has already been planned.
5.Present continuous can be used to tell the near future if we add a future word to it like, tomorrow; Going to can express future action depending upon present situations.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi,

    I’ve often seen movie characters make their decisions using Present Continuous at the time of speaking, an example that grammar books traditionally attribute to the Future Simple tense. Why so? Can a life-and-death matter be planned or arranged? I’ve spent some time researching data retrieved from the Corpus of Contemporary American English to find that ‘not leaving without’ is more frequent than ‘not leave without’. Moreover, each example listed refers either to the movie industry or to the media.
    – ‘We need to move! Cops are almost here. I’m not leaving without her!’ (The Gifted, 2019). Does the ‘I won’t leave without her’ or ‘I’m not going to leave without her’ forms make a difference? According to the convention, the Continuous implies a specific time and date for an event (as in ‘We are getting married next month’), which is not the case with an emotional or tense situation like that.
    – ‘That wasn’t discussed with me. Uh, gentlemen, I am not leaving without my elephant.’ (The Simpsons, 1994)
    – ‘No, no, no. Angela, listen to me. I’m not leaving without you. I love you…’ (Heartbreakers, 2001)
    – ‘I guess I showed you guys something about dirty work. Whatever. But we’re not leaving without our 50 grand.’ (Dirty Work, 1998)

    These shades of meaning are hardly ever discussed even in advanced grammar reference books – and I have studied dozens of them – so I would appreciate it if you provide a detailed insight into this aspect of the familiar tenses.

    Best regards,
    Murmansk, Russia

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