will/ be going to

prettyeyes123

Member
Polish-Poland
I have a following dialogue:
A: Let's go to the cinema tomorrow.
B. That's a great idea. What time will we/ or are we going to meet?
A. ummm at 5p.m.. Is it ok?
B. yes!


which is the most preferable: going to or will?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    None is more preferable than the others. The frequency of use of the clauses will we meet,are we going to meet,shall we meet,
    is given by Google Ngram Viewer is... - Click Here
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    It's not about frequency, Paul. "Will we meet" and "are we going to meet" don't fit the context.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Of course, I meant "What time will we meet" and "what time are we going to meet." ;) Those would not work contextually (at least for me, in American English).
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    They are completely unremarkable in BE, also "... are we meeting?"

    What time will we meet? -> nuance -> the speaker is open to discussion on an intended time
    What time are we going to meet? -> nuance -> the speaker is asking for a plan
    What time shall we meet? -> nuance -> similar to "will" but a definite arrangement will be made
    What time are we meeting? -> nuance -> This could involve more than the speaker and listener, the speaker give responsibility for the time to the listener
    What time should we meet? -> nuance -> this is more formal, tentative, more suited to two people who do not know each other well (as yet).

    However, to me. this is informal conversation and the verb form is not really important and the nuances are slight.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Of course, I meant "What time will we meet" and "what time are we going to meet." ;) Those would not work contextually (at least for me, in American English).
    I wouldn't use "What time will we meet" in BE, but "What time are we going to meet" works for me in that context. :)
     

    prettyeyes123

    Member
    Polish-Poland
    well, I see your point, but it seems that grammar books don't tell the truth. The theory gives us some guidelines, but when it comes to practice all those rules fail, and native speakers say it 's wrong ?? according to my grammar book it shoud be will as going to is for planned actions.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    well, I see your point, but it seems that grammar books don't tell the truth. The theory gives us some guidelines, but when it comes to practice all those rules fail, and native speakers say it 's wrong ?? according to my grammar book it shoud be will as going to is for planned actions.
    Your book is correct up to a point, but "What time will we meet?" doesn't sound very natural in the context of a casual conversation about going to the cinema with a friend.

    If on the other hand, you're organizing a school trip to London and you're writing instructions for the pupils, then "We will meet at the station at 7.30 am" is fine.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A: Let's go to the cinema tomorrow.
    B. That's a great idea. What time will we/ or are we going to meet?
    A. ummm at 5p.m.. Is it ok?
    B. yes!
    Obviously it isn't a planned action, but there is no rigid rule in English about which verb to use for planned/unplanned actions. It depends on the situation. In BE we very often use "shall I/we?" for suggestions, and this is a request for a suggestion.

    What time shall we meet? Shall we meet at five?
    (PM is redundant, unless you and your friends are in the habit of going to the cinema in the early hours of the morning.)

    "What time will we meet?" sounds just a little odd, as though it's left to chance. (What time will we meet? Who knows?) I don't think it's too odd to use, but neither is "What time are we going to meet, then?"

    So...what time we gonna meet then? (written as spoken) sounds fine to me. It leaves the decision to the other person. What time shall we meet? could be asking for a suggestion rather than a definite answer.
     

    prettyeyes123

    Member
    Polish-Poland
    I see. So it is not about the tenses, but about the situation. Could I use then?

    What time would you like to meeet?
    What time should we meet?
    What time can we meet?
    What time do you want to meet?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I see. So it is not about the tenses, but about the situation. Could I use then?

    What time would you like to meeet?
    What time should we meet?
    What time can we meet?
    What time do you want to meet?
    If you're still talking about the two friends arranging a trip to the cinema, then I would say yes, you could use any of those, although I don't personally like "can" very much.
     
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