I intend to or I am intending to?

Hi, Adam619, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

In this old thread, Betty Azar herself explains that both the non-progressive (simple) and progressive uses of intend are possible, similarly to what happens with the verbs plan and think.

Now, in this case in which the present perfect is used in the first part of the sentence to refer to an action (the washing of dishes) that has not taken place up to now, I don't think it would make much sense to use the progressive form because that would suggest that the process of making a decision is under way (it would be like saying: I haven't done it yet but right now I'm thinking of doing it). The use of the progressive would be more likely in a context in which the person is taking some time to reach a decision, for example:

- I'm intending to volunteer to wash up every day to make things easier for my wife at home.

I think in your example it would be more logical to use the simple form to mean that the person has already made the decision to wash the dishes and it's just a question of time before he/she gets down to doing it.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

Hi, Adam619, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange.

In this old thread, Betty Azar herself explains that both the non-progressive (simple) and progressive uses of intend are possible, similarly to what happens with the verbs plan and think.

Now, in this case in which the present perfect is used in the first part of the sentence to refer to an action (the washing of dishes) that has not taken place up to now, I don't think it would make much sense to use the progressive form because that would suggest that the process of making a decision is under way (it would be like saying: I haven't done it yet but right now I'm thinking of doing it). The use of the progressive would be more likely in a context in which the person is taking some time to reach a decision, for example:

- I'm intending to volunteer to wash up every day to make things easier for my wife at home.

I think in your example it would be more logical to use the simple form to mean that the person has already made the decision to wash the dishes and it's just a question of time before he/she gets down to doing it.

Hello mr. Gustavo

Thank you very much sir for your reply

I was just thinking how does this compare to "going to"

so for example we'd say: I haven't washed the dishes yet, but i 'm going to. and we wouldn't say "I go to". that's what got me confused.

Does the progressive form only work with "go" but not "intend"?

thank you very much sir in advance.

I haven't washed the dishes yet, but i 'm going to

Yes, Adam619, that works. Notice that "am going to" is not the progressive form of the verb "go" as in I'm going to the park but expresses future (the main verb "wash" has been elided):

- I haven't washed the dishes yet, but I'm going to wash them soon.

The future is possible and is semantically consistent with "intend to." If the person says "I intend to," he/she means he/she has decided to do the washing sometime in the near future.

Gustavo, Contributor posted:

I haven't washed the dishes yet, but i 'm going to

Yes, Adam619, that works. Notice that "am going to" is not the progressive form of the verb "go" as in I'm going to the park but expresses future (the main verb "wash" has been elided):

- I haven't washed the dishes yet, but i 'm going to wash them soon.

The future is possible and is semantically consistent with "intend to." If the person says "I intend to," he/she means he/she has decided to do the washing some time in the near future.

Thank you very much sir for this clear explanation

This was very helpful

Gustavo, Contributor posted:
I think in your example it would be more logical to use the simple form to mean that the person has already made the decision to wash the dishes and it's just a question of time before he/she gets down to doing it.

I agree that the simple form is more logical here. "Intend" is one of the few verbs that I don't think I would ever use in the present progressive. I can't think of a single example in which it would make sense or sound natural to me to do so. But, Gustavo, I'm very glad you found that lovely post authored by Betty Azar, and will make a point of looking for the coverage of the present progressive with "intend" in the Azar books. I have the utmost respect for her grammatical judgments. If Betty says it can be done, then, as far as I'm concerned, it can.

For me personally, however, if I were to use the progressive in the example under discussion, I would use the present-perfect progressive: "I haven't washed the dishes yet, but I have been intending to." Of course, in that case, it would be more natural to use the verb "mean" rather than "intend": "I haven't washed the dishes yet, but I have been meaning to." But "mean" and "intend" have the same meaning there, and the one can be substituted for the other.

Interestingly, John Searle, a famous American philosopher and Berkeley professor, once wrote that ".  . . 'intend' in English does not take the present continuous tense" (source). But that is a philosophy book, and Searle is not the youngest philosopher around. I believe he recently celebrated his fifty-year anniversary at UC Berkeley. So although my intuitive grammaticality judgment coincides with his in this case, I remain open to the idea that the present continuous is possible with "intend." However, it definitely doesn't work in the example of this thread.

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