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Present Continuous

for future arrangements


Niagara Falls in Toronto, Canada
Roselie. (2017). Niagara Falls [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 06 from http://bit.ly/2rRpbup

You will review the Present Continuous and use it to talk about arrangements by using common expressions in this unit.


At the end of this topic you will: Use the present continuous in its affirmative, negative and interrogative forms, implementing future time to express planned or previously established events.

What are you going to do?

The Present Continuous is used to talk about future arrangements. An arrangement is something that is done to prepare or plan for something in the future. An arrangement is also an agreement between two people or groups about how something happens or will happen.

Diary and weekly plan
Kang_hojun. (2017). Diary [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 06 from http://bit.ly/2rQbnhF


I’m having a party tonight. (Some friends have invited me to their party).

Sue is starting an English course next summer. (She has already registered at a language school where she wants to study English).

In addition, some common expressions are used to refer to when the action will take place and indicates that it will be in the near future.


This weekend
Next Monday, Friday, Saturday
Next week
Next weekend
Next Year

There is a small selection of verbs to talk about things in the future that we have already planned.


Go, come, leave, arrive, fly, have, start, go out, visit, meet, stay.

You use the Present Continuous for plans as future arrangements. Let’s review the affirmative, negative and interrogative forms.
Click on each character name to display the content:

  • Affirmative

    Subject + verb TO BE + verb –ing + complement + time expression


    I'm staying with Susan this weekend.
    Jamie and his family are flying to Toronto next week.
    Susan is taking an English course next summer.

    Note: It is important to include the verb TO BE after the subject and before the main verb. The main verb always ends in –ing. (Check your spelling).

  • Negative

    Subject + verb TO BE+ not + verb –ing + complement + time expression


    She is not doing her homework after dinner. She is watching her favorite TV series.

    Note: Do not forget! The negative form is after verb TO BE.

  • Interrogative

    Verb TO BE + subject + verb –ing + complement + time expression ?

    Yes, + subject + verb TO BE.
    No, + subject + verb TO BE


    Are Jamie and his family flying to Toronto next week?
    Yes, they are.
    No, they aren't.

    Question word (wh... questions) + verb TO BE + subject + verb –ing + time expression ?


    What are we having for dinner?
    Chicken soup and green salad.

    What are you doing on Saturday night?
    I'm seeing a film.

    Note: As you notice in the examples, there are two different ways of structuring an interrogative sentence in the present continuous tense.

    The first is starting with the verb TO BE and the second is using the Wh-questions. It also takes into account that depending on how the question was constructed it will be the answer.

Exercise 1
Trip to New York City and other arrangements

It's time to practice your knowledge. In the content you have learnt that the Present Continuous is used to express planned events which will take place in the not-too-distant future and you reviewed the structures of this tense. Now you have to write correctly the statements that will be presented to you. Remember this is a practice exercise, so you can do it as many times as you want.

The exercise consists of two parts. In each one you will be given the appropriate instructions.

Part 1

First, you will unscramble the words to form correct sentences. Once you are done, click on the Check answers button and then on the Continue button.

Part 2

Imagine you are going to have a vacation and you are planning a trip. These are the arrangements for a trip to the city of New York that you and your friend George are taking next week.

New York City
tpsdave. (2017). New York City [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 06 from http://bit.ly/2sHy8V8

Now, use the itinerary to write sentences in the Present continuous. You will have to write for each day of travel three sentences: affirmative, negative and interrogative. Once you are done click the Check answers button.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7


Activity 1

Places to visit on vacation

Do you remember Joshua, Jamie's friend? Well, he is planning to go on vacation and he has two incredible options. Do you want to know them?

You will practice your reading skills in order to get the most important information from the texts to answer some statements for each one.

Butterflies take flight in Mexico

After reading the text, complete the sentences with one word over each line. You can know your score at the end of the exercise.

A big fish in the Philippines

According to the text decide if the following statements are true or false by choosing the appropriate option. You will see your score at the end of the exercise.


Activity 2

Peter's plans

Do u remember. (2009). Cinema [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 07 from http://bit.ly/2rQv0WR

Steve p2008. (2006). Plane [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 07 from http://bit.ly/2rQilTA

The present continuous can express fixed social arrangements, as you saw in the content. In this activity you will be able to identify how this time is used through the monologue of Peter.

Press the play button to listen the plan of Peter.

According to the audio decide if the following statements are true or false by choosing the appropriate option. You can know your score at the end of the exercise.


Activity 3

My ideal vacation

As you see the present continuous tense serves to express the arrangements that are planned to do soon but not yet succeeded. In this activity you will have to pretend that you are going to take your ideal vacation next summer. You have made all your plans and you have your itinerary. Write a short paragraph expressing your plans.

Click on this link to read an example

You can begin your composition like this:
This coming summer I am beginning my ‘Ideal Vacation’…

Check the rubric in order to include all the components you need to write your paragraph.

Once you finished your composition on a word processor, save it to your computer.

Addison YC. (2014). Luggage for Vacation - Bags [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 07 from http://bit.ly/2r6Rd5H


Activity 4

A very famous person: What are you doing tomorrow?

Imagine you are a very famous person in your country. For example a painter, an artist, an actor, a film maker, a musician, among others.

De la Garza, C. (2006). Wax-On [photo]. Retrieved on 2017, June 07 from http://bit.ly/2r6Aqjg

You will have to use the present continuous to narrate your plans or activities that you will have tomorrow, remember that as you are famous you will have many things to do.

Consider the following aspects in your recording:

Compare your file with the audio provided. You can evaluate your audio with the following rubric.


A little conversation

Now it is time to review what you have studied in this lesson about the use of the present continuous to talk about fixed plans and arrangements.

Do you remember Joshua and Jamie? The guys who are talking about Jamie’s plans and do you remember what is the question that Joshua is asking to Jamie is?

Well, you will have to identify which statements express the use of the simple present for future plans and which ones are happening now.

Choose the most appropriate option for each statement. You will know your score at the end of the exercise.


Basic References

• Harrison, M. (1995). Grammar Spectrum 2. English rules and practice. Pre-intermediate with answers. Oxford University Press
• Macfarlane, M. (2009). English Practice Grammar. Garnet Education.
• Oxeden, C., Latham-koenig, C., and Clandfield, L. (1996). New English File. Pre-Intermediate. Oxford University Press.
• Schrampfer, B. (1999). Understanding and Using English Grammar. Pearson Longman.


• Present continuous - future arrangements. (n.d.). In British Council. Retrieved on 2017, June 22 from https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-practice/present-continuous-future-arrangements