I am reading this lesson about present continuous. As the writer states

USE 3 Near Future
Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous to indicate that something will or will not happen in the near future.


  1. I am meeting some friends after work.

  2. I am not going to the party tonight.

  3. Is he visiting his parents next weekend?

  4. Isn't he coming with us tonight? "

The lesson says: Sometimes, speakers use the Present Continuous...

My question is when are these "sometimes"?


1 Answer 1


The present continuous used for the future implies planning and arrangement:

There is a suggestion that more than one person is aware of the event, and that some preparation has already happened. e.g.


I'm meeting Joe at the station > implies > Joe and I have arranged it.
I am arriving tomorrow. > implies > I have my ticket.
We're having a staff meeting next Monday. > implies > The staff knows about it.

Another instructor adds intention as an implication, and wisely recommends mentioning the future time frame to avoid ambiguity:

We use the present continuous tense to talk about the future when an action or situation is part of a (sic):

an arrangement

Mary’s studying in the library. (now)
She’s studying at Bethan’s house this evening. (future)


The notion of near future will be impacted by the intensity of the intention, planning and arrangements.

  • We are meeting next week.
  • He is graduating next May.
  • I am retiring in six years!
  • 2
    @Adio Note that this is not restricted to the near future: "I'm graduating next year and going on to graduate school." Mar 24, 2015 at 19:46
  • 2
    ... Big Boy is returning to active service in 2019. Mar 24, 2015 at 21:28
  • @Stone I wonder how Winter is coming fits into all this. :)
    – tchrist
    Mar 25, 2015 at 3:56
  • @tchrist Lhude sing goddam? ... Depends on context. Mar 25, 2015 at 11:45

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