Professor Baxter (will be giving/ is giving) another lecture next week.

Uncle Jack

Senior Member
British English
I have a context that at a reception of a hotel. Receptionists often use " How long will you be staying ?" than " How long are you staying?" because the sentence with future continuous is considered more polite. Right?
No. This is the difference between a future action and an arranged plan, which I recall you asking about before. If the receptionist knows that the person already has a booking, then they may well use the present continuous. However, if the person is making the booking there and then, then the receptionist will not use the present continuous because the person's plan has not yet been confirmed.

In post #37, I took the situation to be that the person asking the question already knows (or guesses) that the person they are asking has made arrangements to stay a certain length of time, so this distinction does not arise.

When you are trying to consider one thing, such as politeness, don't ignore other reasons for choosing a particular wording. The only obvious mark of politeness that I can think of is using "would" and "could" in situations where they are not usually required, such as asking "Could you help me?" in place of "Can you help me?"

The present continuous tense is mainly used to talk about personal arrangements and fixed plans. Be going to can also be used to express the same idea; however, it puts an extra emphasis on the idea of intention.

As you explained, When speaking in real life, native speakers won't be aware of that emphasis between types of future tenses. Right?
Well, we don't stop to think about it. Few native speakers will be able to tell you, off the top of their head, that the present continuous is used for prearranged plans in the future. Even so, nearly all native speakers use the present continuous in this way, and it is very rare for anyone to use it for something in the future that has not been arranged.

The "going to" future is far harder to discuss. In many ways, the going to future and the will future are much the same, but it is rare that they are completely interchangeable, and it is very hard to come up with anything in the way of rules. I don't see that "going to" in itself conveys any idea of intention. We usually say "It's going to rain tomorrow" rather than "It will rain tomorrow," but there is no sense of intention.
 
  • le avocado

    Senior Member
    Vietnamese
    Well, we don't stop to think about it. Few native speakers will be able to tell you, off the top of their head, that the present continuous is used for prearranged plans in the future. Even so, nearly all native speakers use the present continuous in this way, and it is very rare for anyone to use it for something in the future that has not been arranged.
    For pre-arranged plans, I heard that "be going to " and " present continuous" are the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. Right?

    Or present continuous is more commonly used for this kind of situation because this is a fixed situation.

    For example:
    A: We (are going to attend)/ (are attending) the meeting at 9 am tomorrow. Try to come early.
    B: Yes, I get it.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    For pre-arranged plans, I heard that "be going to " and " present continuous" are the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. Right?
    There is some crossover but they are not interchangeable. The going to future is more explicitly a future tense rather than a means of discussing a person's plans.
     
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