Will vs. Going to: Differences Between Will and Going to

Learn the difference between will and going to in English with grammar rules, video, and example sentences. In this section, we are going to be looking at which times you will need to use ‘will’ and which times you will need to use ‘going to.’ This will make your speech and writing sound much more fluid and fluent.

Will vs. Going to Understanding the Basics

When talking about an event that is going to happen in the future, there is more than one possibility. Most often, you will use the phrases ‘will’ or ‘going to’ in order to refer to an upcoming event, but sometimes students of the English language can become confused over which one to use and when.

In English grammar, both “Will” and “Be Going to” are used to express future tense but they do not have the same meaning.

Will vs. Going to! Learn the Difference Between Will and Going to in English with grammar rules, video and example sentences. Pin

Key Takeaways

Decision Timeframe:

  • Use “will” for spontaneous decisions made at the moment of speaking.
  • Use “going to” for decisions or plans made before the moment of speaking.

Predictions:

  • If a prediction is based on evidence in the present moment, “going to” is commonly used.
  • For a prediction without present evidence or for general predictions, “will” is more appropriate.

Basics of Future Tenses

Will: Expressing Future

When we use will, it is usually spontaneous or decided at the moment of speaking. It’s our way of forecasting events or behaviors when the decisions are made on the spot. Here are examples to illustrate this:

  • “I think it will rain today.” (prediction)
  • “I will answer the phone.” (spontaneous decision)

Remember, the structure is simple: subject + will + base verb.

Going to: Planned Actions

Going to is for actions we plan to do or when we intend to do something before speaking. It shows our intention or plan. It’s the structure we use for premeditated future occurrences:

  • “I’m going to start a blog about healthy eating.” (intent)
  • “Look at those clouds! It’s going to rain soon.” (prediction based on evidence)

When forming sentences with “going to”, stick to this structure: subject + is/are/am + going to + base verb.

Will and Going to Similarity in Usage

  • Both Will and Going to can be used for making future predictions without having a real difference in meaning.

Example:

I think it will be foggy tomorrow. = I think it is going to be foggy tomorrow.

Will and Going to Differences in Usage

  • Will is used to express future actions decided at the moment of speaking while Going to describes future plans decided before the moment of speaking.

Examples:

I‘ll have salad now. (will)

I’m going to visit my aunt next Friday. (going to)

  • Will is used to indicate a prediction based on personal opinions or experiences while going to is used to express a prediction based on present evidence.

Examples:

I think United will win the game. (will)

Look at those black clouds. It is going to rain. (going to)

  • Will expresses a future fact; going to is used to describe something is about to happen.

Examples:

The sun will rise tomorrow. (will)

Get back! The bomb is going to explode. (going to)

  • Will is used to make a promise, an offer, a threat or refusal.

Examples:

A promise:

I promise I won’t tell anyone you broke the window.

An offer:

I‘ll take you to the airport tomorrow.

A threat:

I‘ll tell your parents what you did.

A refusal:

No, I won’t cook your dinner, you can cook it yourself.

Tips for Remembering the Differences

When we’re learning English, it can be quite a challenge to know when to use “will” as opposed to “going to” for future events. Here are some tips that can help us remember:

Instant Decisions or Predictions

We tend to use “will” when we make instant decisions or predictions that are not based on evidence. For instance, if someone says, “I’m thirsty,” we might reply with, “I will get you a glass of water,” because we’ve just decided to do so.

Examples:

  • “I will check that for you.”
  • “I think it will rain later.”

Pre-planned Actions or Evidence

On the other hand, “going to” is for actions that we decided before the moment of speaking or when there is some evidence.

Examples:

  • “I am going to start a blog.” (Pre-planned)
  • “Look at those clouds! It’s going to rain.” (Evidence)

Will vs. Going to Examples 

Examples of “Will” 

  • will call you as soon as I arrive.
  • The weather report says it will be sunny tomorrow.
  • She will start her new job on Monday.
  • We will see what happens and then decide.
  • They promised they will deliver the package by noon.

Examples of “Going to” 

  • I’m going to study abroad next semester.
  • Look at those dark clouds; it’s going to rain soon.
  • He’s going to propose to her tonight at the dinner.
  • They’re going to repaint the house this summer.
  • She’s going to bake a cake for his birthday.

Exercises to Learn the Difference

Fill in the blanks

  1. I __________ visit my grandmother this weekend.
  2. Look at those dark clouds! It __________ rain soon.
  3. She __________ start a new job next month.
  4. I __________ make dinner tonight, so you don’t need to cook.
  5. He __________ buy a new car as soon as he saves enough money.
  6. We __________ hold a meeting to discuss the project tomorrow.
  7. The weather forecast says it __________ be sunny tomorrow.
  8. I’ve decided I __________ become a vegetarian.
  9. They __________ travel to Japan next year for their anniversary.
  10. Watch out! You __________ spill your coffee if you’re not careful.

Answer and Explanation 

  1. Answer: am going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used here to indicate a planned action or intention.
  2. Answer: is going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used to predict a future event based on present evidence.
  3. Answer: is going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used for a planned future action or intention.
  4. Answer: will
    • Explanation: “Will” is used to make a spontaneous decision at the moment of speaking.
  5. Answer: is going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used to express a future intention or plan that is likely to happen.
  6. Answer: are going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used for a scheduled event or a plan.
  7. Answer: is going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used to predict a future event based on external evidence (weather forecast).
  8. Answer: am going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used to express a decision that has already been made.
  9. Answer: are going to
    • Explanation: “Going to” is used for future plans or intentions.
  10. Answer: will
    • Explanation: “Will” is used for a prediction or warning about a future event that may happen spontaneously.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between “will” and “going to”?

  • Will is generally used for decisions made at the moment of speaking or when we want to make a promise or offer.
  • Going to is used to talk about plans or intentions that were decided before the moment of speaking or to predict a future event based on present evidence.

When should we use “will”?

  • We use will when we decide to do something at the moment of speaking. Think of it as a spontaneous decision: “Oh, I left the door open. I’ll close it.”

When is “going to” the correct choice?

  • Use going to for plans you’ve decided before the moment of speaking: “I’m going to visit my aunt this weekend.”

Can “will” and “going to” be used interchangeably?

  • In casual speech, sometimes they are used interchangeably. However, for clear communication, it’s better to use them according to their specific meanings.

How does the present continuous relate to the future?

  • Present continuous is used for definite arrangements in the near future, often with a specific time mentioned: “We are meeting Jim at the airport tomorrow.”

Are there any exceptions to these usage rules?

  • Yes, there are exceptions, particularly in informal conversation, where the lines between will and going to might blur. But sticking to their basic uses is advisable for clear communication.

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Last Updated on December 7, 2023

25 thoughts on “Will vs. Going to: Differences Between Will and Going to”

  1. “Lei compierà 20 anni a Luglio.” Quale sarebbe la corretta traduzione?
    “She’ll be 20 in July” o “She is going to be 20 in July”?
    Attendo vostre.
    Cordiali saluti.

    Reply

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