Incoming Or Upcoming Or Oncoming? What’s The Difference?

Using location-based words in the wrong way can make your speech confusing. For example, with incoming, upcoming, or oncoming, all three of these terms cannot be used interchangeably, as they mean different things.

Incoming means something is about to arrive. Upcoming means something is about to happen. Oncoming means something is moving towards you.

Though they are similar in some ways, using them as synonyms doesn’t work.

What Does Incoming Mean?

When something is incoming, it means that it’s about to arrive. For example, when someone is about to send you a text message, that means that the text is incoming.

As can be expected, incoming means that something is coming in in the near future. However, this doesn’t mean that the object is in reference to something tangible. The term can be used when discussing something that isn’t physical as well.

What Does Upcoming Mean?

Upcoming means that you are waiting in anticipation of something. For example, you might have an upcoming party that you’re excited to go to next week. You will usually be using the word upcoming when referencing some kind of timeframe or an event of some kind that is expected.

What Does Oncoming Mean?

Oncoming means that there is something or someone that is making their way towards you. For example, you may be walking towards oncoming traffic if it is traveling in the opposite direction of you while you’re on the sidewalk.

When you are referring to something as oncoming, you are discussing it in relation to where you are and where the object you are referencing is located. The object in reference is moving, and it is moving in whatever direction you are in.

How Are Incoming, Upcoming, And Oncoming Similar?

All three of these terms – incoming, upcoming, and oncoming – are in reference to the future tense. They can also all be used as adjectives to help make a sentence much more clear.

Adjectives are used to give more of a description or accurate representation of a noun, which is a person, place, or thing. Of course, when not used appropriately, they can make a sentence lack clarity, ultimately making it more confusing. Thus, a thorough understanding of the adjectives you are using is key.

Final Thoughts

The difference between incoming, upcoming, and oncoming are much more clearly seen when they are used in a sentence. When you’re not quite sure if you should be using a particular term, try to break it down in terms of what you are trying to say or describe.