Both the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) by Pullum and Oxford Modern English Grammar (OMEG) by Aarts clearly say that the progressive futurate (i.e., the present progressive indicating a future event as in I'm leaving next week) does not have an aspectual meaning to it.

OMEG on page 270 says:

It is important to be aware of the fact that [the progressive futurate] is not aspectual, that is, the situation is not regarded as unfolding over time.

What exactly does this mean?

  • I'm not so sure about that. There is a semantic difference between "We leave at 6:30 sharp" and "We're leaving at 6:30 sharp". – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 18 '17 at 11:05

I believe it means that it has meaning that is closer to that of the simple aspect than the progressive aspect - it is making a general statement, rather than referring to something unfolding. When the progressive aspect is used in the present, like we're leaving, it means there is some process or action actually happening. When it is used in the present to refer to the future, like we're leaving in the morning, it has the sort of meaning more associated with the simple aspect, as it is synonymous with the future simple - we will leave in the morning.

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