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Thread: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

  1. #16
    Space Cowboy Array aging one's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    I will marry in june.
    Said jimbo with the gun to his throat. Spontaneous for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    >I will go to the movies (tonight)
    only if its a spontaneous decision, if it is fine. But going to + infinitive is for future plans.

    Will is for spontaneous decisions, going to is with a plan.

    Now in conversation not a problem one, but on a grammar test to use will as a future plan is wrong in my opinion and in the way I have been taught.
    Last edited by aging one; 29th August 2008 at 19:04. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Too long in Exile, too long not singing my song.
    Too long like a rolling stone, Too long in exile
    Too long in Exile, baby you just arent my friend.
    Too long in Exile my friend, Baby you can never go home again.

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    Senior Member Array Matthew's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Future w/going to ----->I'm going to go to the movies (tonight)
    More specifically, w/ be going to.

    the verb 'to be' is always in there

    and is quite quitely essential so add it to yr shhhpeel bro

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    schUHpeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeel!!!!!!!!!!

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    you like how i'm outdoing you with all them wives in my av j-bo?

  5. #20
    Established User Array Grammar Monster's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Pedagogic grammar books tend to use the following terminology to help teachers get across the differences between different future forms:

    Intended future: e.g. I will go to the movies
    Planned future: e.g. I'm going to go to the movies
    Arranged future: e.g. I'm going to the movies

    A useful distinction between using present continous for future intentions and using 'going to' future is whether an arrangement exists or not.

    Examples that use present continous to refer to arrangements in the future:

    1. I'm meeting my friend tonight.
    2. I'm going for a beer with Jimmy.
    3. I'm having my haircut later.

    All of these are future intentions, which may be considered arrangements. Many non-native speakers are likely to express these using 'going to' + verb. e.g.

    1. I'm going to meet my friend tonight.
    2. I'm going to go for a beer with Jimmy.
    3. I'm going to have my haircut later.

    Native speakers tend to avoid (2) because of the repetition of 'go'.

    These are, of course, all grammatically correct too, which is probably the reason many non-native speakers underuse present continous when referring to the future. The older course books from the 80s and 90s introduce this usage of present continuous at pre-intermediate to intermediate levels. Interestingly, a number of modern coursebooks introduce this before 'going to' at beginner/elementary levels. This change stems from research undertaken in corpus linguistics in which huge samples of language have been analysed enabling the researchers to document the relative frequencies of particular language forms, such as 'present continuous for future intention (e.g. arranged future).

    Hope that helps...

    Unfortunately, in English there are many ways to refer to the future. Each way has a difference nuance, and to futher complicate the situation there are other rules at play. If you want to know more, see 'Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English' or a similar corpus-based grammar book and set aside a week to read it!
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    In the sentence "It's one of those things that happen", the antecedent of that which is the subject is not one and so the primacy of one doesn't dictate using the verb 'happens'. Is that explanation correct?

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    Senior Member Array MisterStretch's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Asper...it is Present Continuous for the Future.
    Subject+(to be)+(verb+ing)+future time reference
    We are having spaghetti for dinner (tonight).
    They are traveling to Italy on their vacation (next summer).

    AO has it right, as far as intention of the speaker. PC for the Future is generally used when a plan and a decision has been made prior to the moment the speaker gives the information.

    The use of 'will' in the Simple Future generally indicates a decision made at the time of speaking or an offer of assistance.

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    OK, thanks for clearing that up. Either way, I think it has no place in a beginner's lesson on Present Continuous.

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    Space Cowboy Array aging one's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    But its wrong. Going to is with a plan. Will is spontaneous. Both are tested as such on the toefl, gmat, and ielts exam.

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    I last went to the movie 3 years ago and would love to go again, so i've just decided I'm going to the movies tonight after it has finished raining

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    But its wrong.
    In teaching beginners about the Present Continuous it surely is.

    It's a future tense, not a continuous tense.

    Let's not confuse form with function, boys and girls. Its function is the future, its form is continuous.

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Before enthusiasm for future 'tenses' wanes:

    1. The rationale for including present continuous for future in beginner's books is that this form is used to describe arrangements in the future more frequently than it is used to describe actions happening in the present.

    2. There is not one distinction between 'will' and 'going to'. The time of decision is one reason why native speakers select between these future forms, but other factors, such as certainty, probability and style also come into play. None of the exams under the auspices of Cambridge assessment (formerly UCLES) limit their questions to a particular usage. Having said that, the 'spontaneous future' and 'planned future' is eminently teachable and important, and therefore is often included in grammar sections of coursebooks. The difference between 'present continuous' and 'going to' future forms is more difficult to teach and tends to get omitted or glossed over.

    3. Here's another spanner to throw in the works: many linguists state that there are no future tenses. Since we only have our subjective judgements (predictions, intentions about the future, the word 'tense' does not apply to the future. A more accurate word is 'aspect' since my view of the future could well be different from yours. There are so many different nuances to future aspect in English. A number come to mind:

    The PM resigns at 11:00am tomorrow and then the junta take over at 11:01 (timetabled)
    The PM'll resign (speculation with out evidence)
    I'll resign (spontaneous decision)
    The PM will resign (certainty)
    The PM will be resigning (in the natural course of events)
    The PM is going to resign (plan)
    The PM is going to resign (speculation based on evidence)
    The PM is resigning (plan and arrangement)
    The PM is about to resign (immediacy)
    The PM is to resign (official)

    How many coursebooks include that? Which level should which function be introduced at? How useful is a particular form? How frequently is it used? These are the decisions that coursebook writers need to make.

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    Senior Member Array MisterStretch's Avatar
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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grammar Monster View Post
    The difference between 'present continuous' and 'going to' future forms is more difficult to teach and tends to get omitted or glossed over.
    Why is it more difficult to teach? For whom? I've never had a problem teaching these two forms.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grammar Monster View Post
    Here's another spanner to throw in the works: many linguists state that there are no future tenses.
    Ah, don't you just love linguists that need to write a Masters Thesis or Doctoral Dissertation (that doesn't look right, shouldn't that be discertation?) and have to find something that hasn't been written about 5,000 times before so they invent something that really isn't true, but only tangential?

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Mr Stretch - your teaching skills must be way above mine 'cause my students tend to stick to 'will' and 'going to' regardless of what I do!

    As for the tangential comment, I believe it was you that categorically stated that present continous was a future tense. I prompted a response but sadly one that was ad hominem. [FONT='Times New Roman','serif'] [/font]

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    But its wrong. Going to is with a plan. Will is spontaneous. Both are tested as such on the toefl, gmat, and ielts exam.
    I got hammered on here for correcting a SL teacher who was teaching 'will' for planned (as opposed to spontaneous) intentions. As far as I'm concerned, one simply does not say 'I will go to the movies tonight' (unless one's intention to do so is being questioned).

    (See 'Am I being pedantic here?' thread.)

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    Re: "I'm going to the movies tonight" - present continuous?

    I don't think you got 'hammered' on the grammar point now did you, toc?

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