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Consider the following examples:

  • A: 来年アメリカへ行くと思っています。
  • B: 来年アメリカへ行こうと思っています。

When do we have to use ~行くと思っている and ~行こうと思っている ?

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    来年アメリカに行くと思っています doesn't sound natural (When I first saw this, I thought like "Who do you think is going to America?"). I think you'd say 来年アメリカに行くと思います. (I think I'll go...) or 来年アメリカに行こうと思っています。(I'm planning to go...)
    – chocolate
    Commented Jun 17, 2015 at 7:18

1 Answer 1

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To put it simply, using the volitional form (意向形{いこうけい}) as in B expresses an intent while using the dictionary form (辞書形{じしょけい}) expresses a thought, plain and simple.

i.e. when saying A you are saying that you are thinking about going to America, as though this is not related to your volition :

You do not know yet if you are going there or not (Maybe you are sent for work or studies).

When saying B, you are thinking about going to America, i.e. pondering if you should go or not : you want to go to America and are thinking about it.

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