4

Are you not planning going to the pub this evening?

Don't you plan going to the pub this evening?

Which sentence would a native speaker use? I am not sure whether the continuous form is possible.

  • 2
    I'd say, "Aren't you going to the pub tonight?" Or, "Didn't you plan on going to the pub tonight?" Or, "Weren't you planning on going to the pub tonight?" – WRX Apr 19 '17 at 13:55
  • In Ireland the first form would be perfectly acceptable, but it's not a form anyone learning englsh would be taught. You also need 'planning on' – James Apr 19 '17 at 23:55
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We can express intention more simply:

Are you going to the pub tonight?

If you want to use "planning":

Are you planning on going to the pub tonight?

Are you planning to go to the pub tonight?

Do you plan to go to the pub tonight?

Yes, the continuous is idiomatic, but with planning on or planning + marked infinitive.

P.S. If you want to imply that there is some doubt about the person going to the pub, which is surprising to you, you can use the negative form of the question, but the continuous, planning, is unaffected by that:

Aren't you going to the pub tonight?

Aren't you planning on going ....

Aren't you planning to go...

Don't you plan to go...

Ngram

  • 1
    Yes this is simpler, but it changes the tone of the sentence. This would work for someone who sometimes goes to the pub, but the OP's examples imply someone normally goes to the pub and on this occasion may not plan to. – Chris Petheram Apr 19 '17 at 14:29
  • I understood OP's question to be about the continuous, not about the implications of the negative. We can still ask Aren't you going...? to inquire about a possible intention not to go, if we wanted to keep it simple. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Apr 19 '17 at 14:39
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You can use the present continuous or the present simple here:

Aren't you planning to go to the pub this evening?

Don't you plan to go to the pub this evening?

Both of these questions are perfectly fine and idiomatic. I would tend to use the first.

However, notice that the verb plan takes a to-infinitive as a Complement. It cannot take an -ing form of the verb (a gerund-participle). The following examples are ungrammatical:

  • *Are you not planning going to the pub this evening? (ungrammatical)

  • *Don't you plan going to the pub this evening? (ungrammatical)

The Original Poster's examples use negative questions. Because these are negative questions, they give us the idea that the speaker thinks we are going to the pub this evening.

  • As an aside, in speech the first example would tend to be contracted in the same way as the second - "Aren't you planning..." – SteveES Apr 19 '17 at 13:53
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    "go the pub" is either a typo or Northamptonshire. – Pete Kirkham Apr 19 '17 at 14:55
  • Cheers @PeteKirkham. Thanks for the heads up and the good catch. – Araucaria - Not here any more. Apr 19 '17 at 21:54
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This is the ordinary choice between the present indicative and the present continuous.

  • I plan to go to the pub.
  • I am planning to go to the pub.

Continuous means that you are doing it right now. Indicative is also used for habitual or typical actions.

Which is why "Are you not planning going to the pub?" is (somewhat) more idiomatic: it contains the idea of current action. The alternative "Don't you plan going to the pub?" vaguely suggests that the speaker thinks you are the kind of person who generally plans to go to clubs.

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