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There are many ways of talking about the future. Context: I just want to let my friend know about this trip.

  1. We are visiting X city next week. (present continuous)
  2. We are going to visit X city next week. (be going to)
  3. We will be visiting X city next week. (future continuous)
  4. We will visit X city next week. (future simple)

All my grammar books, and event this reliable English site Future forms say something like this:

  • We usually use the present continuous when the plan is an arrangement – already confirmed with at least one other person and we know the time and place.
  • We use going to to talk about plans decided before the moment of speaking.

If so,

  • I should use (1) if I already has arrangements such as buying flight tickets.
  • I should use (2) if I already decided, but I haven't had any arrangements yet (such as buying tickets).

I wonder what the awareness of the listener is when hearing these sentences.

  • Do they have the feeling that I already had arrangements for this trip when hearing (1)?

  • Do they have the feeling that I haven't had any arrangements for this trips, I only planed for this trip when hearing (2)?

  • When should I use (3)? Does the listener have any idea of me having any arrangements for this trip or not?

  • I know that I shouldn't use (4) for this situation because this is not a decision made at the time of speaking.

I event asked about this question here Future tenses previous question , but a teacher answered that (1) (2) (3) have the same meaning. But I am not clear, so I wrote this new thread.

It seems that grammar books distinguish between the difference between (1) and (2), but natives treat (1) and (2) the same. Is that right?

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    Each one of those has a different emphasis. Bear in mind: We will be visiting x [while the y is in session.] No, 1 and 2 are not exactly the same.
    – Lambie
    Apr 24, 2023 at 14:38
  • @Lambie Do the listener have the feeling that I already had arrangements for this trip when hearing (1) and that I haven't had any arrangements when hearing (2)?
    – LE HANH
    Apr 24, 2023 at 15:42
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    "Does the listener...?" Not necessarily. Apr 24, 2023 at 16:31
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    No need to apologise - I just wanted to make sure you knew the correct way to say it. Apr 24, 2023 at 16:34
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    I said that I would assume it, not that I would be aware of it - but, yes, it's context-dependent. Apr 24, 2023 at 17:42

2 Answers 2

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We're visiting X city next week. (present continuous as future).

We're going to visit X city next week. (be going to as future)

They can mean exactly the same thing.

I see no difference in every day conversation.

The first is perhaps better in formal writing.

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"I'm going to [x] next week" could refer to your journey only. It could mean that you will travel there at some point during the next week, but it says nothing about your length of stay.

"I'm visiting [x] next week" could mean the same, but it could also potentially refer to your whole visit.

Context is everything. If you said you were visiting a city next week it would be likely that you might spend an extended period of time there, visiting different places around that area; whereas if you said you were visiting a specific place such as a named attraction that is normally seen in a single day then it is less likely one would assume you meant you were staying for a longer period of time.

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  • I will provide a context: I just want to let my friend know about my trip. Something like this: Hey, I (1)(am visiting)/ (2)(are going to visit) X city next week. I will buy you a gift after the trip. As I said in my first post, grammar books distinguish the difference between these 2 sentences. I wonder if the listener knows that I already had arrangements (such as buying tickets) when hearing (1), if they know that I haven't made any arrangements when hearing (2).
    – LE HANH
    Apr 24, 2023 at 15:21

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