What is Their Main Difference?
Uses and Comparison
1. Future Plans
We can use both present continuous and 'going to' in past and future form to talk about plans or arrangements. While future with 'going to' and present continuous talk about future plans, past with 'going to' refers to past plans that mostly did not happen.
Here, we are talking about a future plan that is preplanned.
Here, we talk about preplanned action that will soon be fulfilled.
Here, we are referring to an action that planned to happen but somehow it failed to occur.
2. Present Actions
We use present continuous to refer to ongoing actions from the present. These actions are in progress right now and at the moment of speaking.
Here, we are referring to an action happening right now and at this moment.
was going to study grammar.
Here, we are referring to an action that was set to happen in the past but failed to occur.
am going to study grammar.
Here, we are talking about a plan for the future.
We use the past and future form of 'going to' to talk about predictions. Past form refers to events that were predicted to happen in the past. Future form refers to a prediction in the future that we know for sure will happen.
It is so cloudy. It
Here, we are referring to a guess about the weather.
It is sunny. I thought it
Here, we talk about a prediction that did not occur.
It is so cloudy. It
is raining soon.
Here, we have an action that is in progress and not a prediction.
4. Frequent Actions
When we want to talk about a series of repeated actions or events, we use present continuous tense with 'always,' 'forever,' constantly.'
Here, we are talking about an ongoing frequent action done by the subject.
are going to constantly complain about everything.
Here, we are foreseeing that an action will be done by the subject
were going to constantly complain about everything.
Here, we are talking about an action that could have been done but it was not fulfilled.
5. Near Future
When we want to talk about events that are about to happen or started happening, we use future form of 'going to.'
Here, we are talking about a future event that is at the verge of happening.
is failing this test.
Here, we are talking about an ongoing action.
was going to fail this test.
Here, we are talking about an unfulfilled action in the past.
Now that we talked about uses and compared the two tenses let us talk about structure.
1. Present Continuous Tense
In order to create present continuous tense, we use the present simple of the verb 'to be' followed by the present participle of the main verb. Look at the following pattern for clarity: subject + to be + gerund + complement or object.
Now pay attention to the following table:
2. Going to
As mentioned earlier, we can use 'going to' with both past and future. We will cover both right now:
2.1. Past with 'Going to'
We tend to follow a certain structure while creating the past tense 'going to.' We use any subject with was or were followed by 'going to' and an infinitive verb. Look at the following pattern for clarity: subject + was/were + going to + infinitive verb
2.2. Future with 'Going to'
To create this tense we tend to use 'going to' followed by the base form of the verb.