I have a situation. I am watching the TV at noon, then I make a telephone call with my husband for a while, then it is time to cook. Which of these is correct?

  1. I am cooking (now), bye.
  2. I have to cook (now), bye
  3. I am going to cook (now), bye.
  4. I will cook (now), bye.
  • 3
    The first three are all possible (or "I have to start cooking now"). "I will cook" is not so idiomatic for something you are about to start doing. Dec 27 '20 at 10:41
  • @KateBunting what about "bring me the ingredients, and I will cook it for you"? Dec 27 '20 at 13:08
  • 1
    @AndrewTobilko That's fine of course. The OP was asking about ending a phone call because they have to start cooking immediately. If you have to wait for someone to bring the ingredients, it won't be immediate. Dec 27 '20 at 13:14
  • Can I used am cooking if I have not started yet . I know present continuous can express future but that is not the case because there is no precision of time
    – user5577
    Dec 27 '20 at 17:13
  • Thank you, @Kate Bunting!
    – Yam Van
    Dec 28 '20 at 1:29

The essence of what you say is to provide an explanation for your ending the conversation, so you require "now" in all of them.

None of your alternatives are idiomatic.

I am cooking (now), bye. - this is only valid if, when you speak, you are already cooking something.

In the others, we do not use the verb "to cook" intransitively in that context, we are more precise and would give the verb an object:

I have to cook a/the meal (now), bye - This is the most likely because the urgency of having to do something explains why you are ending the conversation.

I am going to cook/bake some bread (now), bye. - This sounds as if you are fed up of talking and want to leave the conversation.

I will cook the chicken (now), bye. - This is too abrupt. It sounds as if you have just thought of cooking the chicken.

  • Thank you, @Greybeard!
    – Yam Van
    Dec 28 '20 at 1:43

You could probably use all of them.

I'm cooking now

Suggests the cooking has already started, or perhaps will start immediately as you put the phone down.

I have to cook now.

This is my choice because "have to" means that you don't have a choice. It is polite suggest that you would like to talk for longer but you must start cooking dinner.

I'm going to cook now.

This is fine, it suggests that you will start cooking right away. The future action (cooking) is a result of your present situation (it implies you are hungry)

I will cook now.

Rather to formal and plain, but correct.

I'd use the "have to" form, for the implication that "I want to talk more but I don't have a choice".

We would probably use an object "have to cook lunch", and there would probably be more conversational fluff.

Okay, look, I have to cook lunch for myself now, so um I'll talk to you again tomorrow. Bye for now. Take care, Bye....

or something like that. Actual spoken English is rarely that clear.

  • Thank you, @James K!
    – Yam Van
    Dec 28 '20 at 1:42

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