My thought process:
- We all know that progressive tenses are, to put it simply, used to talk about an action in progress:
I'm having a dinner at 2:00. (eating dinner is in progress at 2:00)
I was having a dinner at 2:00. (eating dinner was in progress at 2:00)
I will be having a dinner at 2:00. (eating dinner will be in progress at 2:00)
- Simple tenses are used to say when an action starts.
I have my dinner at 2:00. (My dinner starts at 2:00)
I had my dinner at 2:00. (My dinner started at 2:00)
I will have my dinner at 2:00. (My dinner will start at 2:00)
That seems logical to me. Let's go further.
- In many books you can find the following explanation for "present progressive for future":
We usually use the present continuous tense for future arrangements.
- I'm seeing my friend tomorrow.
OK, I understand the rules so far. It is a future event that has been arranged. Perhaps I have called my friend and we agreed on meeting sometime tomorrow.
4.Now this is the part that I don't understand:
- I'm seeing my friend at 2:00 tomorrow.
I am totally lost here.
As present continuous is used to talk about future arrangements, in the sentence above I need to use the present continuous. If I change the tense to the present simple (which is used to talk about future events that are scheduled) it will change the meaning of what I am going to say. It will sound like a timetable or like a schedule, which the sentence above is not - it's just an arrangement I made with a friend of mine.
However, as the present continuous is used to talk about actions in progress, does the sentence I'm seeing my friend at 2:00 tomorrow. mean that my appointment will be in progress at 2:00 or will start at 2:00?
A very important question: What do you feel would be the best way to express a future arrangement that starts at a certain time in future?