I'm confused about the right way to ask this question:

When you come back to London?
When do you come back to London?
When are you coming back to London?

Which one should I use?

  • 2
    You may find English Language Learners useful. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 20 '14 at 22:40
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    Use option 3 – Gary's Student Sep 20 '14 at 22:46
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    @Gary'sStudent I'm sorry but the simple present No) 2 is also used. – Mari-Lou A Sep 20 '14 at 23:27
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    @Mari-LouA I agree. Option 2 is used, but if I could pick only a single option, I would pick 3. For the present tense, I would say "When do you intend to come back to London?" Because I want you current intent. – Gary's Student Sep 21 '14 at 0:30
  • What @Gary's Student said. Option 2 is a bit dated/formal. – FumbleFingers Sep 21 '14 at 1:26

If your sentence is in the Future Tense then the correct option is: "When are you coming back to London?"

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  • +1 I put a disclaimer on my answer as yours was more to the point, but I wanted to address how the first didn't quite sound complete. – polarysekt Sep 20 '14 at 23:32
  • Where is "Future Tense" in either the question or this answer? – Colin Fine Sep 21 '14 at 15:35

Disclaimer: this answer doesn't address tense correctness.

The first,

When you come back to London

is usually followed by another phrase, such as an action to be performed upon return.

When you come back to London don't forget to visit.

The second,

When do you come back to London?

is suitable if the person is definitely coming back to London, and you want to know exactly when. This is the most certain and direct way to ask.

The third:

When are you coming back to London?

is somewhat less certain (or more polite) than the second, as if the person may not actually come back, but is very close in meaning to the second.

It may come off sounding more like:

Are you coming back to London?

The third could also be used with a sarcastic implication that the person has been gone for a long time or (somewhat jokingly) might not come back.

Are you ever coming back to London?

Context is important.

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