Expressing the Future With 'Will' and 'Going to'

ThoughtCo. 

The future in English can be rather confusing. There are two future forms used in most conversations: the future with 'will' and the future with 'going to'. The main difference between the two forms is that 'going to' is used for plans and intentions made before the moment of speaking, and the 'will' to speak about the future at the moment of speaking. Study these basic forms and then use the referenced resources to practice these forms.

Teachers can print out these materials for use in-class, or find help with how to teach future forms, as well as the lesson plans suggested below.

The Future With Will

There are two basic future tenses used to describe things that happen in the future. Besides these two there are some other future tenses which can be started on the advanced future tenses page. The first future tense is the future with 'will'. Use the future with will to talk about an event in the future that you have just decided to do, for predictions and for promises.

Examples:

  • I think I'll go to that party next week.
  • The economy will get better soon.
  • Yes, I will marry you.

Future With 'Will' Structure:

Positive: Subject + will + verb

  • I, You, He, She, We, They will come to the party.

Negative: Subject + will + not (won't) + verb

  • I, You, He, She, We, They won't have time tomorrow.

Questions: Question word + will + subject + verb

  • What will he, she, you, we, they do?

    The Future With Going To

    The future with 'going to' is used to express events you have already planned in the future and your intentions for the future. We sometimes also use the present continuous for planned events in the near future.

    Examples:

    • She's going to attend university and study to become a doctor.
    • We're going to make the presentation next week.

    Future With 'Going to' Structure:

    Positive: Subject + to be + going to + verb

    • I am going to attend the meeting.
    • He, She is going to attend the meeting.
    • You, We, They are going to attend the meeting.

    Negative: Subject + to be + not + going to + verb

    • I'm not going to visit Rome next year.
    • He, She isn't going to visit Rome next year.
    • You, We, They aren't going to visit Rome next year.

    Questions:  (Question word) + to be + subject + going to + verb

    • Where am I going to stay?
    • Where is she, he going to stay?
    • Where are you, we, they going to stay?

    Additional Future Tense Resources

    Activities With the Future With Will and Going to

    Some activities that will help you practice: