This site says:

Speakers occasionally use Simple Present to talk about scheduled events in the near future. This is most commonly done when talking about public transportation, but it can be used with other scheduled events as well.


The train leaves tonight at 6 PM.

The bus does not arrive at 11 AM, it arrives at 11 PM.

When do we board he plane?

The party starts at 8 o'clock.

When does class begin tomorrow?

First & foremost, What does "scheduled" mean?

In dictionary, to schedule: to arrange for something to happen at a particular time

Anything can be arranged to happen at a particular time, Eg: a to-do list

I am not sure things on a to-do list are things scheduled?

See this example:

Today is 20 June 17. Ok, let see this to-do list. This is an one-off event and this list only happens once, not a regular event. That is this list is effective on 21 June 17 only.

On 21 June 17

1pm: Lunch with Mary

2pm: Meeting with Bob


So, is it ok to say "The meeting with Bob starts at 2 pm"?

  • Have you tried looking up scheduled in a dictionary?
    – SteveES
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:10
  • @AteveES, It said "to arrange for something to happen at a particular time", but not very clear
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:12
  • I would add that to your question, say what dictionaries you have looked at and why you are still having a problem understanding it. As it is, (that part of your question) is open to be close voted due to an apparent lack of research. It will also help us to properly help you :)!
    – SteveES
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:18
  • I would also say that your "to-do list" looks more like a calendar. A to-do list would be more like: put the bins out, call Dad, finish report, arrange meeting with boss. I.e. a list of tasks, generally without an appointed time for each task.
    – SteveES
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:26

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can safely use the present simple there, since it's commonly used for scheduled events, like those written on a calendar or organizer:

  • The meeting with Bob starts at 2 p.m.
  • The party starts at 8 p.m.

If these sentences are written on your calendar, no one will interpret them as repeated events; i.e., that meetings with Bob usually start at 2 p.m., or that the party always starts at 8 p.m.

You'd be more likely to use the present continuous for personal arrangements in the following manner:

  • I'm meeting with Bob on Friday at 2 p.m.
  • I'm having lunch with Sally later today.

If someone were asking about the meeting, they could say

When does the meeting start?

and you'd reply with

The meeting starts at 2 p.m.

If an event repeats, it'll either be obvious from the context:

Q: Do meetings in this company start at 2 p.m.?
A: Yes, they start at 2 p.m.

or more explicit:

Q: Do meetings usually / always start at 2 p.m.?
A: Yes, they usually / always start at 2 p.m.

Meetings with our biggest client, Bob, start at 2 p.m. on Mondays.
We always meet Bob on a Monday.
We meet Bob every Monday.

  • +1. That's a good explanation. I suggest adding information about the Future Simple too. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 12:58
  • 1
    @SovereignSun I felt that this question lacked a more straightforward answer. I don't think I should expound on all the possibilities since the asker didn't request them, but rather stick to the point. Besides, that's already in your answer and I don't think it'd be of use to anyone to read the same thing twice. I added the present continuous examples because that tense is more usual with one-off arrangements.
    – user3395
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 13:20

Here's what I know (I'm not a native speaker):

"Scheduled" can mean Time-tabled events (Present Simple) or Arrangements and Plans and intentions (Present Continuous)

Four possible, Present Simple, Present Continuous and Future Simple, Future Continuous can be used in your last example:

  • The meeting with Bob starts at 2 pm
  • The meeting with Bob is starting at 2 pm
  • The meeting with Bob will start at 2 pm
  • The meeting with Bob will be starting at 2 pm

The distinction can be this:

  1. A command or a determined plan. (Present Simple)
  2. An emphasis on the near future or the speaker's particular interest. (Present Continuous)
  3. A simple statement of a future fact based on present evidence. (Future Simple)
  4. Either a prediction about a future event or a reference to continuous event that can be expected to happen in the future. (Future Continuous)


The present continuous is used to talk about arrangements for events at a time later than now. There is a suggestion that more than one person is aware of the event, and that some preparation has already happened. e.g.

  • We're having a staff meeting next Monday = all members of staff have been told about it.

Notice! The simple present is used when a future event is part of a programme or time-table.


The simple present is used to make statements about events at a time later than now, when the statements are based on present facts, and when these facts are something fixed like a time-table, schedule, calendar.

  • The restaurant opens at 19.30 tonight.
  • The plane arrives at 18.00 tomorrow.
  • Next Thursday at 14.00 there is an English exam.

Here's about "IMMEDIATE FUTURE":

A pattern composed of three elements: the verb "to be", conjugated in the present tense, + about + the infinitive of the main verb is used to refer to a time immediately after the moment of speaking, and emphasises that the event or action will happen very soon. We often add the word just before the word about, which emphasises the immediacy of the action.

  • She is about to cry.
  • I am about to go to a meeting.

Here's about "FUTURE WITH "GOING"":

When we use going in a phrase to talk about the future, the form is composed of three elements: the verb to be conjugated to match the subject + going + the infinitive of the main verb.

The use of going to refer to future events suggests a very strong association with the present. The time is not important, it is later than now, but the attitude is that the event depends on something in the present situation that we know about. Going is mainly used to refer to our plans and intentions or to make predictions based on present evidence. In everyday speech, going to is often shortened to gonna, especially in American English, but it is never written that way.


  • We are going to have dinner together tomorrow.
  • I think Nigel and Mary are going to have a party next week.


  • He's going to be a brilliant politician.
  • You're going to be sorry you said that.
  • How about "The party starts at 8 o'clock." (this is simple present for future event). The party is scheduled once, not a repeated event like a bus timetable
    – Tom
    Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:21
  • @Tom This can be either a routing or a scheduled event in the future. Without a time reference we can't say for sure. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:23
  • @Tom Take for example "My bus leaves at 8 am." . Ask then, Does it do it everyday? or Are you going on vacation and this scheduled for tomorrow or later today (if it's night)? Without context this is impossible to predict. Commented Jun 21, 2017 at 11:26

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