On Japanese Shinkansen bullet trains, you hear the announcement say "We will soon be arriving at [the name of a station]." Is there any difference between

"We will soon arrive at Tokyo Station." and

"We will soon be arriving at Tokyo Station."?

I wonder why the announcement uses "will be arriving" instead of "will arrive". Is it more formal or something?

I also wonder why announcements on trains do not say

"We are going to arrive at Tokyo Station." or

"We are arriving at Tokyo Station."

Would it be informal or odd for announcements on trains to say "We are going to arrive..." and "We are arriving..."?

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


All of your example sentences are good English, but the have different tones. Some also have different meanings.

"We will soon be arriving at..." sounds the most polite and formal among them. so we can only imagine the people who decided on those words for the announcement wanted the Shinkansen to appear polite and formal.

By using the continuous form, it's referring to the extended period of approaching, slowing down and stopping at the station. With the non-continuous form of "We will soon arrive at...", it only refers to the moment of stopping at the station. These announcements usually come about 10 minutes before the stop to give people enough time to pack up what they're doing and collect their bags to be ready to disembark without delaying the train, so future continuous is the best choice.

"We are arriving..." means we are already slowing down to stop at the station, so it would be incorrect while the train is still 10 minutes out.

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