“It was Saturday morning and my boy friend told me he was going to pick me up or was picking me up at 8 pm to go out for dinner at a fancy restaurant downtown

Why not past continuous as we can suppose the restaurant has already been booked it is more than an intention and there is there is no need of confusion at 8 indicate that it is not now .

  • Your question can be made more clear if you write two separate sentences. We can probably answer more helpfully if you tell us where you saw the sentence that made you want to ask a question. Then tell us if you think that sentence is ok or not, and why or why not. Then write a second sentence, with a different verb and/or verb form, and tell us if you think it is ok or not, and why or why not, and repeat your question. – Jim Reynolds Nov 18 '17 at 6:20
  • Do you consider was going to to be past continuous? Do you consider was picking up to be past continuous? – Jim Reynolds Nov 18 '17 at 6:23
  • I think you mean "why is this in the past continuous". The reason is it is indirect speech. The person is repeating what her boyfriend had said to her. Her boyfriend had said to her, "I'm going to pick you up at 8pm" or "I'm picking you up at 8pm"; therefore, when one repeats the speech indirectly in the past, it becomes indirect speech and thus must be rewritten in the past continuous. – Nick Nov 18 '17 at 7:12
  • so both are acceptable was going to pick or was picking, in fact I just want to know which form is better the going to or the other one – user5577 Nov 18 '17 at 7:38

As is often the case in the use of English tenses, there is not one single right answer. Both your options are perfectly possible, and can apply to exactly the same set of events.

In this case, I can't find a difference in meaning between the two.

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