Do you think it's correct if I use present continuous tense in this sentence?

Tonight, Mike and I are watching a film at home.

I think present continuous is used for arrangement. But my teacher say that I should use "be going to" in stead of "present continuous tense".

Please help me. Thanks.

  • I have a feeling this has been dealt with earlier here. See previous related posts. Good Luck.
    – Kris
    Oct 22, 2018 at 6:25
  • Meanwhile, "... when talking about a planned event in the future. " examples.yourdictionary.com/…
    – Kris
    Oct 22, 2018 at 6:28

2 Answers 2


Well, we use the Present Continuous to talk about something in the future that we have agreed to do:

Tim and I are going to the theatre tonight, then we're having dinner at White's.

Are you doing anything at the weekend? - I'm playing tennis with Mary on Saturday.

So, I'd say it's OK to use the Present Continuous in your sentence about watching TV at home. Using the Present Continuous, you show your agreement to do it together.

But your teacher is right too. Of course, we can say "Mike and I are going to watch a film." But using to be going to, we talk about our plans, rather than arrangements.

There are many grammar books that deal with the issue (Present Continuous vs. to be going to for future events). But the explanation I have given is inspired by Oxford Living Grammar intermediate.

  • How about this sentence? " They are going to bring out a new album soon" or "they are bringing out a new album soon". Can you help me with this one? Oct 22, 2018 at 6:01
  • @19932gembui both sentences are correct, but they mean different things. "they are going"... implies they they are planning to do it. "they are bringing out..." means it's arranged, not just planned. I'd assume they already have a release date.
    – Enguroo
    Oct 22, 2018 at 6:04
  • 1
    So we can say that "be going to" implies intentions or plans whereas "present continous tense" prefers arranged plans? Oct 22, 2018 at 6:06
  • True. You also need to cite a reliable source.
    – Kris
    Oct 22, 2018 at 6:24
  • @19932gembui right. Think about it as plans/intentions vs. arrangements
    – Enguroo
    Oct 22, 2018 at 8:04

If you are saying the time it's something previously arranged so it must be on progressive future not going to because is not a plan you are thinking about u just decided, more than a mere plan.

  • 1
    Hi Shirley, welcome to EL&U. Since we're "serious language enthusiasts" here, we expect answers to be well written, whereas yours is poorly expressed and therefore makes little sense. Also, using u instead of you might be okay in text messages but not in formal writing. Please edit your post to improve the wording, and please also provide a reference (eg a grammar book or web page) to show that what you're suggesting is not mere personal opinion or supposition. For further guidance, see How to Answer and take the EL&U Tour. :-) May 17, 2019 at 0:56

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