Will vs Going to

Verbs

The Future is the tense used to predict or talk about future events. We have many ways to talk about the Future.

We use the Future Simple to express opinions, spontaneous decisions and hopes.

We use the “To be going to” structure to express  intentions for the Future and make previsions based on signs we see at that moment.

The Affirmative form of the Future Simple is:
Subject + will + infinitive.

The Affirmative form of the “be going to” future form has this structure:
Subject + verb be + [verb to go + -ing] + to + infinitive.

Simple Future

  1. Decision at the moment of speaking
    • We don’t have any bread for dinner. I will go and buy some right now.
  2. Predictions based on opinions
    • I think this blouse will be tight on me.
  3. Invitations
    • Will you come with us?
  4. Requests
    • It’s cold, will you close the window?
  5. Offers
    • I will help you find your student card.
  6. With: probably, certainly, perhaps
    • I will certainly come to the party.
  7. Promises
    • I promise I will never do it again!
  8. Necessity/obligation/fact in the future
    • You will have to pay with cash if you buy clothes under 50 euros.
  9. Threats
    • If you don’t take off my jacket, I will not talk to you again.

“To be going to” Future

  1. Decision before the moment of speaking/planned activity
    • We don’t have paper for the printer. I am going to buy some after I finish cooking.
  2. Predictions based on evidence we have now, about the near future
    • This business is going to close. They don’t have customers.

Simple Future is used to express:

  1. Decisions taken while speaking;
  2. Predictions based on opinions;
  3. Invitations;
  4. Requests;
  5. Offers;
  6. Sentences containing the adverbs: probably, certainly, perhaps;
  7. Promises;
  8. Needs/duties /future events;
  9. Threats.

“To be going to” Future is used to express:

  1. Decision taken before the moment of speaking, already planned events or activities;
  2. Predictions based on evidence we have now about the near future.

We have two forms of the Future tense:

  • The Future Simple is used to express opinions, spontaneous decisions and hopes;
  • The “To be going to” structure is used when we wish to express intentions for the future and make previsions based on signs we see at that moment.

The structure for the two Affirmative forms is very different.

  • The Future Simple is:
    Subject + will + base form of the verb (e.g. I will wash the car.);
  • The “To be going to” is:
    Subject + verb be + [verb to go + -ing] + infinitive form of the verb (e.g. I think it is going to rain.).

For example:
— “I’ll work one hour more.” = In this case we use the Future Simple because we express a future decision taken in the moment of speaking.
> “I will wash the car on Sunday.” = We use the Future Simple because we want to express a spontaneous decision.

— “I’ll work one hour more.” = In this case we use the Future Simple because we express a future decision taken in the moment of speaking.
>”It is very cloudy, I think it is going to rain.” = We use the Future with “To be going to” because we want to express a prevision due to signs we see, for example in this case the prevision is due to the fact that we see clouds in the sky.

NOTE: Certain situations require the “To be going to” structure to be used, whereas others require the Future Simple.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.