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Future with WILL vs. GOING TO

Deciding whether to use WILL or GOING TO can be very confusing for English learners. Not to worry, we've got you covered! Check out this activity to understand the nuances between the two better.

mercredi 5 oct., Il y a 15 mois
 5 min

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Both WILL and GOING TO refer to the future, though there are subtle differences between the two. Read on to understand the differences better.

When To Use Will:

• For actions that we decide to do right now / at the moment of speaking (rapid decisions)
I haven't spoken to Tom in a while. I think I'll give him a call.

• When we think or believe something about the future (prediction) based on feelings or instincts.
In 2050, students will travel to the Moon on field trips.

• To make an offer, a promise or a threat.
I'll give you a discount if you buy it right now!

• Use WON'T when someone refuses to do something.
Marta won't go to work even though she may get fired!

• To express a wish in the distant future.
Someday, I will learn Italian.

• WILL structure: Will + base verb in infinitive.
Example: I will buy a house someday.

When to use GOING TO:

• The decision has already been made before the moment of speaking / preplanned decisions.
They are going to retire to Florida - they have already bought their condo!

• When there are definite signs that something will happen / when something is guaranteed to happen.
I don't feel well. I'm going to throw up.

• When something is just about to happen / immediate future.
Stay back! The roof is going to fall in!

• GOING TO structure: am / is / are + GOING TO + base verb in infinitive
Example: I'm going to London in summer, I've already got the tickets!

Comparing WILL and GOING TO:

What plans do you have for this evening?
I'm going to the cinema, and you?
Not much. Maybe I'll watch TV

• Jane uses GOING TO as it is a preplanned event, a decision made ahead of time. In this case, she can't use WILL.

• a spontaneous decision that Tom is not sure of, an impulsive decision, an uncertain event in the future.

We hope that clears it up!

Here is the great news - in most cases, WILL and GOING TO can be used interchangeably, without a big change in meaning, so no one will have trouble understanding you!

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