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What is the difference between I am doing and I am going to do when we speak about future?
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dpc profile picture dpcJune 2018

Hi! So I think you're talking about the difference between "doing" and "going to do" when they are both referring to the future. E.g. "Tomorrow I'm going to the store" and "Tomorrow I'm going to/gonna go to the store" (gonna = informal version of "going to"). Honestly, there's not much of a difference. Both are pretty informal, and if you were writing in a formal context, I would use the future tense ("I will go to the store") over either one.

But there is one difference I can think of. When there is a certain vagueness about the event you're describing, when it's something that may not happen, or you don't know when it will happen, then I think you can only use "going to do." Example: "Someday, I'm going to die." (I know, it's morbid, but it's the first example that I thought of that worked!) You CANNOT say "Someday, I am dying." Another example: "When I am older, I am going to drive a car." Similarly, you CANNOT say "When I'm older, I am driving a car." BUT, in all other circumstances, as far as I know, they are interchangeable, so "I'm going to drive my car to work tomorrow" works just as well as "I'm driving my car to work tomorrow."

Может казаться сложно, но я обещаю, что это не так сложно, как русская грамматика для людей говорящих по-английски))

EDIT: Oh wow I just realized this thread is from four years ago O_____O

CBennemeer profile picture CBennemeerJuly 2014
Hi when you say "I am doing" it means right now, at this moment and I'm still busy. For example, I am talking right now. "I am going to do" is in the future. For example, I am going to see a movie tomorrow. So ... I am doing the dishes at this moment OR I am going to do the dishes tomorrow/this evening.
  • CBennemeer profile picture CBennemeerJuly 2014
    Yes, that is also right - "I am going to the doctor tomorrow". Unfortunately there are always exceptions to the rule. "I am teaching a class tomorrow" OR "I will be teaching a class tomorrow" OR "I am going to teach a class tomorrow". Someone might ask "Are you going to the doctor tomorrow?" to which you would reply "Yes, I am going to the doctor tomorrow."
  • berryblond profile picture berryblondJuly 2014
    hi and thanks for your reply! If I say" I am going to the doctor tomorrow"-it's not right now. I talk about future. And is it possible to say "I am going to visit my doctor tomorrow". I don't understand the difference. or may be there is no difference?
  • CBennemeer profile picture CBennemeerJuly 2014
    The first is called present continuous (it's happening now, and continuing), the second is called the future continuous (it will happen in the future and will continue until finished).
AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg3 weeks ago

”going to do sth” refers to future events with definite certainty, but not a definite time in which something is completed:

e.g. "We’re all going to die at some time in the future.|

As Benjamin Franklin once paraphrased most likely from Daniel Defoe: ”but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes” smile.gif

”to be doing sth” is all about defined future plans, i.e. plans with a defined time of being undertaken and completed. Usually, it is used informally:

”The plane with my friend on it is landing at the airport at 11am tomorrow.”

The formal tense for future plans is generally simple present: ”The plane lands at 11am tomorrow”.

Often, formal speech uses simple tense forms while informal uses much more continuous tenses. The reason is simple. When you are using formal language, you are often more interested in the completed result - so there are more simple tense verbs being used in formal speech. On the other hand, if you are chatting with your friends, you are often interested in what is happening in the event - so verbs are more often used with continuous tense forms.

In the case of ”the plane is landing at 11am tomorrow”, friends and family at that point in the future are waiting at the airport, anticipation and so on.

”The plane lands at 11am tomorrow” is more likely said by a bored customer service person at an airline office responding formally to questions about the plane’s landing time. You might have noticed that timetables in general use simple present forms to describe arrival and departure times.

Using ”will” for future events is all about a very high probability of happening, but not 100% certainty. Quite a lot of native English speakers don’t get this one! Many mix up ”will do sth”, ”going to do sth”, ”to be doing sth” and ”to do sth”. I’ve seen more than one native English speaker mess this up teaching to groups of non-native speakers wink.gif

”gonna” is a slang contraction used primarily in US English. In Australian English, ”going to” contracts down to ”gunna”. It’s not very common to contract in standard British English as ”gonna”, although in Scots English it’s common and sounds a bit like ”ganna”. I don’t recall ever hearing ”gonna” in Indian English.

shouryou profile picture shouryouJuly 2020
In normal circumstances I am doing means the present continuous. E.g. I am doing the laundry (I am washing/drying my clothes at the moment). Whereas, I am going to would mean about the future. E.g. I am going to do the laundry (I have yet to do this action, but I am planning to do it now). However, I believe you might be also thinking of sentences when people say: I am doing the laundry tomorrow. (This would have a similar meaning to going to, whereby it expresses an action you have planned for the future)