Present continuous for future arrangements

Using the present continuous to talk about the future

The present continuous is used to talk about arrangements for events at a time later than now. There is a suggestion that more than one person is aware of the event, and that some preparation has already happened. e.g.

  • I'm meeting Jim at the airport = Jim and I have discussed this.
  • I am leaving tomorrow. = I've already bought my train ticket.
  • We're having a staff meeting next Monday = all members of staff have been told about it.
  • Is she seeing him tomorrow?
  • He isn't working next week.
  • They aren't leaving until the end of next year.
  • We are staying with friends when we get to Boston.

Note:In the first example, "seeing" is used in a continuous form because it means "meeting".

BE CAREFUL! The simple present is used when a future event is part of a programme or time-table.

Notice the difference between:

a. We're having a staff meeting next Monday = just that once
b. We have a staff meeting every Monday