Will and Be going to

Cakes saying happy birthday with candles

Introduction to Will and Be going to

What are the difference between Will and Be going to for the future meaning? First we will study the following conversation.

Emma: It’s my birthday soon. I‘ll be eighteen next Sunday.

Joan: Oh, really? Are you going to have a party?

Emma: I‘m going to have a meal in a restaurant.

Joan: That‘ll be nice.

WILL BE GOING TO
Will has a neutral meaning. We use it to talk about facts in the future. We use be going to for an intention, something we have already decided to do.
  • I‘ll be eighteen next Sunday.
  • We will know the results soon.
  • We‘re going to have a meal.
  • Tom is going to sell his car.

Will does NOTE express an intention.

  • It’s her birthday. She‘s going to have a meal with her friends. (correct)
  • It’s her birthday. She‘ll have a meal with her friends. (not correct)

But we often use be going to for an intention and will for the details and comments.

  • We‘re all going to have a meal. There will be about ten of us.

As well as be going to, we can use the Present Continuous tense for future meaning.

  • We‘re going to drive / We are driving down to the South of France.
    That‘ll be nice a long journey.
    Yes, it‘ll take two days. We‘ll arrive on Sunday.

Decisions and Intentions

WILL BE GOING TO
We use will for an instant decision or agreement to do something. Be going to means that we have already decided.
  • There’s a postbox over there. I‘ll post these letters.
  • You still haven’t put those shelves up, Karl.
    OK, I‘ll do it tomorrow.
    (Karl is deciding now).
  • I’m going out. I‘m going to post these letters.
  • You still haven’t put those shelves up, Karl.
    I know, I‘m going to do it tomorrow.
    (Karl has decided already).

 

Predictions

WILL BE GOING TO
We can use will for a prediction about the future. Be going to for a prediction when we see from the present situation what is going to happen in the future
  • I think United will win the game.
  • One day people will travel to Mars
  • There isn’t a cloud in the sky. It‘s going to be a lovely day.
  • This bag isn’t very strong. It‘s going to break.

It is often possible to use either form of will or be going to in a prediction. For example, we can also say

  • I think United will win the game.
  • I think United is going to win the game.

Usually be going to is a little more informal and conversational than will.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.