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What's the difference between saying;

Will you be going home this summer?

Will you go home this summer?

Are there any differences between these in written or spoken English?

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The only difference is in the tense of go used in each case. – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Apr 26 '12 at 0:52

They mean essentially the same thing: Are you going home this summer? which is probably the most neutral form of this question.

However Will you go home this summer? might be seen as being curt and could imply that you wish for that person to leave. It could essentially be taken as Will you please go home this summer? but without the please.

Will you be going home this summer? is more inquisitive. It implies that you are merely curious about to their summer plans and you don't particularly care what the answer is.

If this is being addressed to a person that you do not wish to go home for summer you could try asking You aren't going home for summer, are you? which retains the overall neutral value but implies that you prefer for them not to leave.

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For me there is no difference in the degree of inquisitiveness displayed by the two different questions. In fact, I detect no difference at all between them in this context. However, the continuous form is often preferred in other contexts, when the alternative ways of asking the question might seem too direct. For example: Will you be going to the meeting? is a rather more tentative question than Are you going to the meeting? – Shoe Apr 26 '12 at 5:05
@Shoe My comment is not on the strict literal meaning but rather how these phrases could be interpreted by the listener. Without context (which we do not have) Will you be going home this summer? is the one more likely to be strictly inquisitive and Will you go home this summer? is more likely to be taken in the negative. Ex: If I walked up to you at a party and asked, "Will you go home soon?" you are not likely to take it the same as if I asked, "Will you be going home soon?" or "Are you going home soon?" (which is what I find to be most neutral and, therefore, my preferred version). – Jed Oliver Apr 26 '12 at 5:35
I agree that context determines the way the speaker phrases the question and the way the listener interprets it. And I also agree that Are you going home in the summer? (present continuous for plans or arrangments already made) is the most likely and neutral way to put such questions. – Shoe Apr 26 '12 at 6:31

I don't feel there is a difference in written versus spoken text for either variation you ask about or any that I discuss below. I will say that the verb "go" is a very special verb and the use of these tenses with the verb "go" is somewhat different than the use of these verb tenses with ordinary verbs. If you want an explanation that applies to the verb tenses in general, please say so and I will give you other examples.

I disagree with SomeNorCalGuy about Will you go home this summer? necessarily being curt. It can be curt, but it can also be neutral or pleasant.

What are your plans for the year? Will you go home this summer?

is very neutral and inquisitive. On the other hand, Will you please go home this summer? is asking if you will comply with my request that you go home. Because of that, Will you go home this summer? can sound like a request or command that is ruder because you did not even say "please."

Will you be going home this summer? is more common in British than in American English, and because Will you please be going home this summer? is improper grammar, Will you be going home this summer? does not run the risk of being misinterpreted as a request or command.

As a native American English speaker, it is almost impossible for me to read Will you be going home this summer? without hearing it in a British accent. So while I expect it is common usage in England, in the U.S. I would consider it excessively formal. Are you going home this summer would be the most common way (in American English) to ask without implying a request.

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They are close in meaning, but one might be preferred over the other in some cases. Will can express intentions formed at the moment of speaking, while be going to is often used to talk about intentions we already have.

So, the question Will you be going home this summer? might be put as a general, isolated inquiry. On the other hand, Will you go home this summer? might occur in circumstances in which some recent event might put such a journey in doubt.

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