Well, that is totally wrong in french. Actually Je vais manger is a tense. It is the "Future proche" that means "The near future". That means that you will do an action in a few moments, or hours, you got the idea. You can make that time like this: Subject + the present tense of the verb "aller" + the infinitive form of the verb. The Present Tense of the verb "aller" is: Je vais-I go Tu vas Il/Elle/On va Nous avons Vous avez Ils/Elles vont
This structure (using a conjugation of "aller" followed by an infinitive) is called futur proche or "near future". The equivalent in English is demonstrated by saying "I am going to eat a baguette". It is not "I go to" but "I am going to + infinitive" meaning that the action will take place very soon. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/g/nearfuture.htm
So is it similar to the present continuous tense in English? We use this to sometimes talk about the future as in the case of "going to" although in sake of simplicity "going to" is always considered a simple future tense. Another example of the present continuous to talk about the future is "I am coming to the party tonight / this weekend".
It is not "similar" to the present continuous tense. The present continuous tense is one way of translating the French present tense, e.g., je mange une baguette = I am eating a baguette. In futur proche, it's "je vais manger une baguette" = I'm going to eat a baguette.
French does not have a present continuous tense, only a present tense. For example, "je lis" may be translated as "I read" (simple present) or "I am reading" (present continuous). The French use "aller" before an infinitive to form what is called the Near Future. It is neither simple present nor present continuous, but near future. Please open the link in your browser for an explanation. https://www.thoughtco.com/french-near-future-grammar-1369036
French uses something called "futur proche" or "near future" when speaking of an action that is imminent. In English, this is most common as saying "I am going to + verb". In French, it's "Je vais + infinitive". In English, it might be translated as "I will", but that is not as clearly "near future" as it is "future", so it's best to stick with "going to". http://french.about.com/od/grammar/g/nearfuture.htm
As explained above, following the verb aller with an infinitive is what is called futur proche (near future). So "je vais manger..." means "I am going to eat ...." https://www.thoughtco.com/french-near-future-grammar-1369036
ALLER (conjugated) + INFINITIVE ~ to be going to ...
- je vais = I go || je vais manger = I am going to eat
tu vas = you go || tu vas manger = you are going to eat
il; elle va = he; she goes || il; elle va manger = he; she is going to eat
- nous allons = we go || nous allons manger = we are going to eat
- vous allez = you go || vous allez manger = you are going to eat
- ils; elles vont = they go || ils; elles vont manger = they are going to eat
Presens for vouloir: je veux, tu veux, il veut, nous voulons, vous voulez, ils veulent, see: http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/vouloir
So this sentence can also imply intention? As in, one can interpret this sentence as "I intend to eat a baguette"? Or does it mean "I am [currently] going [to the store, for example] to eat a baguette"? Or does it mean "I am about to eat a baguette"? Or can this sentence have all 3 meanings? XD
It is not about "going" anywhere. It is "futur proche" and it indicates that the action will take place soon. That is a relative term. In the sense of "je vais manger une baguette", we would expect the action to take place within a few minutes. In the sense of "Je vais aller à Paris", it could be next week, next month, next year, since the futur proche is not specific about how soon.
In the sense that any future action is an intent, since it has not happened and may never happen. The usage is basically identical to the English construction it mirrors, which also means it excludes the idea of motion, just as the English construction does.
Je vais au café pour manger une baguette - I am going to the cafe to eat a baguette.
I don't understand why I was marked incorrect, because "I am going to eat baguette" is almost exactly the same thing as "I am going to eat a baguette". If I say one or the other it won't matter in an everyday situation... :|
Edit: I know it marks things correctly or incorrectly based on whether is is exact or not, but sometimes there are variations in a correct answer. Idk if this makes sense, sry if it doesn't.
If they are used in the sense of "near future", then yes. http://french.about.com/od/grammar/g/nearfuture.htm
"Je vais" is present tense. When it is followed by an infinitive, it is called futur proche (near future). As in "I am going to eat". http://french.about.com/od/grammar/g/nearfuture.htm
je vais manger is presnt futurum I am going to eat
j'allais manger = I was going to is past futurum
see Conjugaison d'aller - WordReference.com http://www.wordreference.com/conj/FrVerbs.aspx?v=aller