Is it possible to write:

I am visiting my mother tomorrow. (fixed plan present continuous)

I will be visiting my mother tomorrow.

Are these sentences interchangeable or is there a difference? I know that future progressive emphasizes the duration of the action that will be ongoing at the time of speaking.

  • 1
    It's the same without a "continuous" aspect. I'm (I am) at work tomorrow is to all intents and purposes interchangeable with I'll (I will) be at work tomorrow. Pedants or literary critics might try to make out that present tense puts greater emphasis on your current state (within which going to work tomorrow is an important aspect of your immediate future), but I'd say that's no more than pedantry. And I have to say you're probably overthinking things if you imagine your use of continuous significantly implies a longer visit than, say, I will visit her tomorrow. Jun 26 '17 at 16:06
  • But you literally told us the difference. What don't you understand? (–1) Also, this lacks context. In certain scenarios you'd be more likely to hear the second one.
    – user3395
    Jun 26 '17 at 18:18
  • what kind of scenarios?
    – user5577
    Jun 26 '17 at 19:31

You can use either of those sentences to say that you have arranged to visit your mother tomorrow. They both clearly express that meaning.


I'll be visiting my mother tomorrow

somewhat emphasises that tomorrow you will be busy (visiting your mother), so you won't be available to do other things. Doing this thing will be in progress, so other things can't be in progress.

So, you might slightly prefer to use this sentence when someone invites you to do something tomorrow, or requests that you do something tomorrow, and you want to politely explain that you have arranged to do something else (you will be doing something else).

It might be a bit clearer, because we tend to use future continuous forms when we want to specify the time when we expect to be doing something. Consider:

"Are you coming to the meetup tomorrow (at four o'clock)?"
"I can't, I'll be visiting my mother (at that time)."

But, especially if this is an informal spoken conversation, you could still politely refuse using the present continuous form; there won't be anything incorrect or rude or ambiguous about it.

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