The question was what does the following mean: "Je vais au restaurant plus tard" and one of the answers I picked was, I will come to the restaurant later." It was marked wrong. But I just took a lesson on using the present tense to describe the near future. I'm confused.
Joanne, I made the same "mistake", and found that they wanted the present continuous "I'm going to the restaurant later". For these "near future" cases, I'd say translate the French present into the English present or present continuous where possible, as English has the same phenomenon of using the present to talk about the future.
I totally understand your confusion, Joanne. There are three ways of expressing something in the future in French. Ranked acoording to increasing "future-ness" they are:
Present tense: Je vais au restaurant un peu plus tard. -- I'll be going to the restaurant a bit later.
Furue proche: Je vais aller au restaurant bientôt. -- I'll be going to the restaurant soon.
Future simple: J'irais au restaurant demain. -- I will go to the restaurant tomorrow.
As you can see, the English translation isn't always a 1:1 match with the French.
In your example, Je vais au restaurant plus tard, the present tense is used, indicating something that is not far in the future at all. Therefore they were probably looking for an English sentence which doesn't use the standard future tense.
Perhaps it was marked incorrect because you translated "vais" as "come" rather than "go."
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