Frame 152, Page 98 - Difference between "be going to" and the present continuous


According to the page 152, the present continuous tense may be used in more formal setting than the 'be going to' verb phrase. However, I can hardly understand the difference between them. Why is the present continuous tense a more formal expression than the 'be going to' verb phrase?

ANSWER:

Why indeed!

This is a question that I might not actually be able to answer fully.

Less formal expressions are used more frequently in spoken English compared with written English. From what I have observed, the less formal "be going to" expression is also more commonly used in spoken English vs. written English.

The "be going to" expression can also have the effect of drawing the other person 'closer' to the person using the expression compared with the present continuous tense. The present continuous tense can have a more 'distancing' effect.

These are subtle differences that will be hard for the non-native speakers of English to feel or sense when they use these expressions.

For now, I would ask you to remember this difference when you are writing academically even if you do not understand it. In general, it's not a good idea to use the "be going to" expression when writing formal academic English, unless there is specific purpose that only the "be going to" expression can fulfill.

Keep this difference in formality in mind when you are revising your written work for academic classes.

If there are any teachers out there who might address this "Why?" question better, please join in the conversation and give us your thoughts using the link that says "Click here to post comments."

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Learn English Grammar: iEnglish® 202 QA.

Frame 153, Page 96 - More on the difference between "be going to" and present continuous


According to this frame:

1. Plans expressed with the present continuous tense are more definite than plans expressed with the 'be going to' verb phrase.

2. The present continuous verb phrase is a more formal expression than the 'be going to' verb phrase.

Does this mean that plans expressed with the 'be going to' verb phrase are not definite?

ANSWER:

Plans expressed with the "be going to" expression can be definite, but they tend generally to be less definite than plans expressed with the present continuous tense.

In cases where the plans expressed with the "be going to" expression and those expressed with the present continuous tense are identical in meaning, the "be going to" verb phrase is less formal than the present continuous verb phrase.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Learn English Grammar: iEnglish® 202 QA.

Frame 160, Page 82 - The present continuous vs. "will" vs. "be going to"


According to iEnglish 202, plans expressed with the present continuous are more definite than plans expressed with the 'be going to' verb phrase. 'Will' plus a simple or continuous tense may be used to refer to future plans or situations that are fixed and cannot be changed or influenced.

(1) Between the present continuous and modal verb 'will', which is the more definite expression?

(2) Is the verb phrase with the modal verb 'will' more definite than the 'be going to' verb phrase?

ANSWER:

You are really thinking about what you are learning! That's very good!

Question (1)

Let's first be sure that we are referring to the same thing. In frame 160, we have two examples that BOTH contain verb phrases with the modal verb "will." In other words, example (b) does not contain a present continuous verb phrase by itself. It is a present continuous verb phrase with the modal verb "will."

Therefore, your question as it is written does not relate to the two examples in this frame. Rather, your question relates to two examples such as the following:

(a) The golf course will be built next year.

(b) The golf course is being built next year.

In these two examples, we have the modal verb "will" in (a) and the present continuous alone in (b). In terms of which is more definite than the other, my native-speaker sense tells me that they are equally definite.

Question (2)

As for your second question, the answer is Yes, verb phrases with the modal verb "will" are more definite than verb phrases with the "be going to" expression.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Learn English Grammar: iEnglish® 202 QA.

Frame 168, Page 66 - Why is the answer 'e'?


When I see the answer is 'e,' I can understand that answer. However, if I need to solve this question, it is hard for me to choose just one answer. In my opinion, it is too ambiguous. Can it be also 'b', a promise or intention?

ANSWER:

The best answer is actually (c) rather than (e). The answer in the book is an error that will be corrected in the next edition.

But yes, this question is generally difficult to answer because several answers seem to be possible.

If you consider the meaning of the sentence carefully, however, answer (b) is less likely than (c) when you think about who it is that would be making the promise. If the subject were the "I" pronoun instead of "academics," then, yes, the statement would make sense as a promise or intention. But how likely is it for a group of academics to make the promise or state the intention that they will say something together at an educational conference about schools offering chocolate to students to reduce exam stress? Not very likely, I think. A group of academics may make a promise to say something about global warming perhaps, but not about chocolate in schools.

I hope this helps.

Work hard and be successful,

Professor iEnglish


Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Learn English Grammar: iEnglish® 202 QA.

Study, Succeed and Shine!