What is the difference between saying the following?

I am going to bed in a few minutes.

I will be going to bed in a few minutes.


I will be getting off here. Or, I guess, I will be getting off here. See you.

I am getting off here. Or, I guess, I am getting off here. See you.

Which one seems more fluent and natural?


3 Answers 3


Both are fluent and natural, but they have different meanings.

I am... means that not only have you made the decision to go to bed imminently or get off the bus, but you are actively doing that — finishing off a drink or TV programme, or moving towards the bus doors.

I will be... means that you have made the decision to go to bed or get off the bus soon but you haven't actually done anything about it yet.

The import of each sentence is implicit in the tense used. I am is present tense and you are actually in the process of doing the action; I will be is future tense and although you know you will be doing something, you haven't started yet.

  • I am setting next to my friend on a bus and I tell my friend: I guess, I will getting off here, so see you next time. I haven't started standing yet, but I am preparing myself to get off as soon as the bus stops. Or I am just wrapping up my talking. So which one do you think makes more sense?
    – Noah
    Apr 14, 2012 at 10:18
  • I would use am in that case, but it's a borderline example because you have made the decision to get off imminently (by using here rather than at the next stop) even though you haven't actually stood up yet.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 14, 2012 at 10:22
  • But I had this specific bus stop in mind before I got on the bus.I knew that I would be getting off at this particular stop.
    – Noah
    Apr 14, 2012 at 10:26
  • So? It's a question of imminence. Here indicates that you are very close to the stop, so am is appropriate because if you don't do something now you will miss your stop. If you are far enough away to say "at the next stop" then it's not imminent and will be is appropriate.
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 14, 2012 at 10:33
  • 1
    @Paola, you are right that this is a common use of the future continuous. (Another example: At this time tomorrow I'll be sitting in the plane on the way home.) However, this is not the only use of this tense. It is also used to denote a planned future action and, as such is equivalent to the present continuous: I'm seeing the boss at 10.30 tomorrow. = I'll be seeing the boss at 10.30 tomorrow. It is also often used to soften questions. Instead of the direct: Are coming to the meeting?, you can ask more obliquely: Will you be coming to the meeting?
    – Shoe
    Apr 14, 2012 at 19:40

Your question asks which is more fluent and natural. As a native speaker (British), I would suggest that will sounds rather pedantic despite being technically correct. In most states of imminence I would normally expect am to be used.

  • Yes, and in normal conversation I'd expect that to be the contracted form: I'm. I'm getting off here- See ya later.
    – Jim
    Apr 14, 2012 at 19:33

Even though I am fluent speaker in have never actually understood the difference between "I will be going to" & "I will go to" though you can use both of them, but naturally most of the time we use "I will go to"!

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