I don't quite understand the difference. I saw a similar question on English SE, but it was a closed question (I wonder why) and the answer was a bit advanced for me to understand.

I tried to understand from a few Google results, but couldn't find anything useful to me.

Then I checked in the Oxford dictionary, which I also felt wasn't clearing the difference much. For example, according to dictionary:

The definition & example of upcoming: Oxford Learner's Dictionary

going to happen soon

Example: The upcoming presidential election

The definition & example of forthcoming: Oxford Learner's Dictionary

going to happen, be published, etc. soon

Example: The forthcoming elections

Now, seeing this, I can't really differentiate it. And I don't know how to decide which one to use.

  • 1
    Upcoming has only one meaning, but forthcoming has three meanings, only one of which is the same as 'upcoming'. If you study the meanings carefully you should see when you can use either word, and when you cannot. Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 6:46
  • If you intend the meaning "going to happen soon", then the only real difference is that "forthcoming" sounds very formal, while "upcoming" sounds neutral.
    – gotube
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 21:02

1 Answer 1


Sometimes in English, a word can be used indistinctively regarding its meaning, it depends on the context. However, "upcoming" refers to an event, a situation that is going to happen in the near future like a concert, festival, etc. "Forthcoming" usually refers to something/an object that will soon be available, reachable, published. For example, a book.

  • Good answer. One might say that "forthcoming" things are "in the pipeline" and "upcoming" things are in the diary.
    – Deipatrous
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 8:30

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