- English Grammar A2 Level - https://open.books4languages.com/english-a2-grammar -

Future with Will or Be going to

Introduction

The future is the tense used to predict or express future events.

We use the future simple [1] to express spontaneous decisions, opinions and hopes {see Future Simple [1], A2 level}.

Be going to [2] is used to express intentions for the future and make previsions based on signs we see at that moment {see Be going to [2], A1 level}.

Form

Future simple [1] (will) and be going to [2] have different structures for the three forms:

Affirmative forms:

  • Future simple: Subject + will + verb + …
  • Be going to: Subject + to be + going to + verb + …

Negative forms:

  • Future simple: Subject + will + not + verb + …
  • Be going to: Subject + to be + not + going to + verb + …

Interrogative forms:

  • Simple future: Will + subject + verb + …?
  • Be going to: To be + subject + going to + verb + …?

Example

Future simple:

Decision made at the moment of speaking

  • We don’t have any bread for dinner. I will go and buy some from the bakery.

Invitations

  • Will you come with us to meet the president?

Needs/duties/future events

  • You will have to pay with cash if you buy clothes under 50 euros.

Offers

  • will help you to make these photocopies.

Predictions based on opinions

  • He thinks that being retired will be boring.

Promises

  • I promise I will never talk to the boss about this! 

Requests

  • The telephone is ringing. Will you answer it please?

Sentences containing the adverbs: probably, certainly, perhaps

  • will certainly come to the party.
  • He probably won’t finish writing his CV in time.
  • Perhaps we will need a new printer soon. This one is getting so slow.

Threats

  • If you don’t send an email, I will not talk to you again.

Be going to:

Decision before the moment of speaking/planned activity

  • We don’t have paper for the printer. I am going to get some.

Predictions based on evidence about the near future

  • This business isn’t going to fail. It’s a multinational corporation!

Use

We use future simple [3] to express:

  • Decisions made while speaking;
  • Invitations;
  • Needs/duties/future events;
  • Offers;
  • Predictions based on opinions;
  • Promises;
  • Requests;
  • Sentences containing the adverbs: probably, certainly, perhaps;
  • Threats.

We use be going to [4] to express:

  • Decision made before the moment of speaking, already planned events or activities;
  • Predictions based on evidence about the near future.

Summary

Future simple [1] (will) and be going to [2] are two forms of the future tense, which differ in meaning and form.

  • We use the future simple to express predictions, beliefs or intentions about the future.
  • We use be going to to express commands, predictions and things that are about to happen.

For example:
— “This printer will probably cost you 70 euros. I heard that it is the usual price.” = We are not certain about the price, we’re just making a guess and therefore we use future simple [1].
— “This printer is going to cost 70 euros. I checked the price tag.” = We are certain about the price, therefore we use be going to [2].

NOTE: Certain situations require the be going to [2] structure, whereas others require the future simple [1].

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

Exercise