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What is the difference between:

I am leaving at 6 o´clock

and

I will leave at 6 o´clock?

Do these serve any different function?

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  • Not much. Both converge on the same prediction along different integration paths. So do I'm going to leave at 6 o´clock, I am to leave at 6 o´clock, I'm expecting to leave at 6 o'clock and I'm scheduled to leave at 6 o'clock. They have different verbs, different syntax, and different affordances; but they all refer to the same thing in this case. – John Lawler Sep 19 '13 at 17:23
  • This question is not a duplicate of the other one (and the answers here are better anyway). It should be reopened. – phenry Nov 27 '14 at 0:17
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The present progressive construction is used for talking about future plans and arrangements. The speaker who says ‘I am leaving at 6 o´clock’ has already formed some idea of the timing of his or her departure.

When a speaker uses the construction will + plain form of the verb, then the action described may very often be decided on at the time of speaking. That may well be the case in the example ‘I will leave at 6 o´clock’, but we can only really be sure by examining the context in which it is said.

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  • Maybe this is a UK/US difference, but with the 'spontaneous' reading, I think the contracted form "I'll" would almost always be used. – Neil Coffey Sep 19 '13 at 17:55
  • Oh, yes, sure. The contraction is normal in speech. – Barrie England Sep 19 '13 at 17:59
  • Thank you Barrie. I am trying to explain the difference to someone who can speak English but doesn't know any grammer. – Kevin Sep 19 '13 at 18:08
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Without context, their meaning is effectively identical.

In-context, one could be used to mean that a departure is certain, versus intended

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