What is the difference between these?

  1. I am going to run.
  2. I am going running.

Do those mean the same thing as each other? Do they mean the same thing as any or all of these next ones?

  1. I am going to go run.
  2. I am going to go running.
  3. I will go run.
  4. I will go running.
  5. I will be going running.

I am teaching my student the present continuous construction with be going to as an alternative to will for expressing future events, and he asked me the difference between the first two sentences.

  • 'Be going to' is one of the ways English English shows a future occurrence; it is a semi-modal construction rather than a tense. See FumbleFinger's answer here. // 'Go shopping / running / hiking / fishing / singing....' is what CoBuild call a 'phase structure', where the two verbs essentially describe a single two-component action. See the duplicate. Feb 12, 2020 at 19:10
  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Do the -ing and to-infinitive "verbs" that follow catenative verbs always take the grammatical function of "noun"? (I like running, I started ..., I'm going shopping ...) Feb 12, 2020 at 19:11
  • Pragmatically, someone announcing that they were going to leave the house (etc) and go for a run would say either "I'm going [out] for a run" or "I'm going running." "I am going to run" would only be used after say "How are you going to get to your aunt's [by 2 pm]?" / "You must not take part in the Marathon so soon after your operation!" / "Did you decide whether to enter for the 200m? ... "I am going to run" (stressed reply). Feb 12, 2020 at 19:25
  • This has been migrated? Phase-structure catenatives and semi-modal constructions are unsuitable on ELU? They weren't the first time round. Feb 12, 2020 at 19:58
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth There was a request for migration, so I migrated it. If this was wrong, we can take it back.
    – tchrist
    Feb 12, 2020 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


"I am going to run" To be going (+to infinitive) expresses a planned future action. This expresses the idea that you are about to start running.(It is similar to, but not exactly the same as, "I will run.")

"I am going running" -> running is a gerund and the complement of "to go". This expresses the idea that you are about to leave in order to run.

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