I am new here in the United States and I'm just confused how the natives speak.

I just want to know the meaning of these statements.

Sentence 1: Ann said that she was going to Las Vegas with here boss, and the whole office was talking about it.

Sentence 2: I was just notified that I am going to be transferred in Mongolia. We'll see about that! I am going to talk to the boss.

What is the difference between the two?

For sentence 1, Is Ann still going to Las Vegas with her boss? When "was going to" is used, does it change the fact the Ann is going to Las Vegas? If I change was going to to am going to, Will it make any difference, will it make sense?

About the sentence 2, Why is "am going to" used? Will it change the meaning of the sentence if I change it to "was going to?"..

3 Answers 3


In the first sentence that you used: "Ann said that she was going to Las Vegas with her boss, and the whole office was talking about it."

In this sentence, we are actually referring to a past progressive tense. In this sentence, you are talking about an event that started in the past and has already ended.

In the second sentence, you are talking about a future event. You are going to be transferred to Mongolia (It means that you are still in the place where you work but in the coming future you will be transferred to Mongolia).

This certainly shows that the two things are irreplaceable. The phrase "were going" signifies past action while the second sentence is used to refer to coming future.

Here, I have found a page for you which will of great help to you. http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/pastcontinuous.html

  • 2
    It is possible that sentence(1) was reported speech, and so could still be in the future. Jan 2, 2017 at 20:24
  • Yes, you marked out a good point. I believe that this thing generally depends on time. I answered the question so as to remove the doubt of the asker regarding the basic English tense usage.
    – user206150
    Jan 2, 2017 at 20:28

I won't deny that #1 is very common native usage, especially spoken. The confusion is probably due to "Ann said" being in past tense, so the speaker wants to continue with the past with "was going". But if the event is still going to happen, then "Ann said that she is going to ..." is proper.

There is a meaning in which #1 uses proper grammar, though. If the situation is that the trip was planned, then cancelled (or at least Ann's participation in it) then #1 is okay. Because of the commonness of the bad usage I first mentioned, it may be ambiguous to listeners, though. The ambiguity can be avoided with more information:

  • Ann said that she had planned on going to Las Vegas with her boss, but cancelled when learning her daughter has a recital that week. The whole office was talking about it.

However, based on the examples in #2 and the question itself, I do not believe this is what is meant.

I do not see any problem with the examples in #2 except it should say "to Mongolia" rather than "in Mongolia".


Sentence 1:

Ann said that she was going to Las Vegas with her boss, and the whole office was talking about it.

Ana said that: She was going

I see this more likely as a reported speech. Imagine that I am Ana and I am telling you that I am going to Vegas. After that you tell a friend that I am going to Vegas in reported speech, so you must go one tense behind examples:

Present simple = past simple

Present continuous = past continuous

Will = would

past simple = present perfect

present perfect = past perfect

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