I am <going to use / using> it. [Going to Vs. Present continuous]


Spanish - Spain

I'm having some problems when it comes to whether to use "going to" or the present continuous in order to express a future statement. I've always been taught that the present continuous is used for short-term arrangements, especially if you specify a particular date or any other circumstances, and also if it refers to something you are going to do for sure. For instance, if you want to go to the cinema and you've already bought the tickets, you would say "this weekend I'm going to the cinema". On the other hand, I was taught that "to be going to" is used for longer-term arrangements, especially if you don't specify any circumstances related to schedules or who you are going with, for example.

So, this is the theory, but when it comes to grammar exercises, which are often pretty ambiguous, it's not always very clear. For instance, today I had to face the next sentence:

We _____ married in July.

As for me, both "we are going to get married in July" and "we are getting married in July" sound perfectly fine, but I guess that, if you take into account the theory, it should be the latter. The same happens with the next example:

Sorry, you can't borrow my car tonight. I ____ (use) it.

Can any native speaker help me out? Is there a clear difference or most of the times, it doesn't matter?

Last edited:
  • xyzyxx

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    I would say it doesn't really matter most of the time.

    "going to" is really just an idiom having the same meaning as "will", in the same way that "used to be" means the same as "was".

    Any of the following would be acceptable:
    -I am going to use
    -I am going to be using it.
    -I will use it.
    -I will be using


    Spanish - Spain
    Thanks! For us non-natives it is a bit difficult since you are taught one thing and then you talk to natives and you notice how they use them interchangeably very often... So, in the first example (I'm going to get married in July vs. I'm getting married in July) are both correct as well?


    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    Yes, but to me the former could be speculation, hope or fact e.g."I'm going to get married in July (when I grow up / because there's more chance of having good weather / because my parent will be back from America then" whereas "I'm getting married in June" sounds like a statement of fact and is more likely what you'll here a future bride say.
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