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How to speak about future plans in English!

In this class, you’ll learn how to use the Present Continuous to speak about future plans.

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We can use the Present Continuous to speak about future plans. For example:

  • I’m seeing the doctor this Friday at 1pm.
  • We’re playing tennis at 11am this Saturday.

Remember, we form the Present Continuous with the verb to be (often a contracted form: I’m, you’re, she’s…) and a verb in the gerund (verb, -ing). We often use it to describe an action in progress. For example:

  • She’s studying.
  • They’re waiting for you.

We can use the Present Continuous to refer to future plans at specific times. These plans are often with other people. For example:

  • I’m Pete later this evening.
  • Jessica is playing golf on Sunday.

It’s quite common to use this structure with verbs of movement (go, leave, come, etc.). For example:

  • They’re coming to the pub tonight.
  • He’s going to the Caribbean this summer.

In many cases, there’s very little difference between futures with be + going to and the Present Continuous when we’re talking about the future. Both these sentences have almost identical meanings:

  • I’m playing chess with her tomorrow.
  • I’m going to play chess with her tomorrow.

However, compare these sentences which are both in the Present Continuous:

  1. a) He’s seeing the doctor.
  2. b) He’s seeing the doctor this Monday at 9am.

Sentence “a” is describing an activity in progress – something that’s happening now; Sentence “b” is describing a future appointment with another person at a specific time.

You’re going to watch a video with two people arranging to meet.

Watch it once and answer these questions.

  1. Where is Olive going tomorrow at six?
  2. What day is she playing tennis?
  3. Who is she having breakfast with on Saturday?
  4. When do they finally agree to meet up?

 

Here are the answers:

  1. Where is Olive going tomorrow at six?

Olive is going to her grandma’s house tomorrow at six.

  1. What day is she playing tennis?

She’s playing tennis on Thursday.

  1. Who is she having breakfast with on Saturday?

She’s having breakfast with her dad on Saturday.

  1. When do they finally agree to meet up?

They finally agree to meet up on Sunday at 5 o’clock.

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