Posted by: crisdiaz24 | October 12, 2008





1.    Will and going to


Both are commonly used to talk about the future. Sometimes the difference between them is very small. Then, Going to is preferred in spoken English; Will in formal written English.



2.    Going to


Predictions: when we predict that  sthg will happen  in  the future because we have some evidence for it now. It may be that we predict an event that is just about to happen on the basis of sthg that we feel, see, etc.

·        “What’s the matter with her?” “I think she’s going to faint:”

·        Did you know that Bob and Kate are going to get married?


Intentions or decisions: When we talk about intentions of decisions about the future, we prefer Going to. (the present continuous is NOT used to talk about the intention to do sthg in the future, unless we are talking about a DEFINITE ARRANGEMENT.

·        Tony told me that she’s going to move back to Spain.

·        We’re going to have a party.


Arrangements: Future events and activities that are intended or have already been arranged. (We can also use the Present Continuous to talk about them; Will is NOT used to talk about arrangements and intentions).

·        Are you going to see the doctor today?



3.     Will


Prediction: If we make a prediction based on our opinion or our past experience we use Will.

·        Why not come over at the weekend? The children will enjoy seeing you again.

·        I imagine the stadium will be full for the match on Saturday.



Future fact:

·        He’ll be forty in June.


-In formal style, we use Will rather than Going to to talk about   future events that have been previously arranged in some detail.

·        The meeting will begin at 10.00am. Coffee will be available from 9.30 onwards.


Decisions made at the moment of speaking.

·        “Is that the phone?” “Don’t worry. I’ll get it.”


Official arrangements: (the present simple is also possible) For timetables or programmes.

·        The train will stop at Bristol, Birmingham, Chester and Liverpool.


Offers or requests:

·        Shall I give you a lift?

·        I’ll help you carry those books.



4.     Present continuous:


         Definite arrangements:

·        They are leaving from Frankfurt airport at 6.30pm.

·        The orchestra is performing Malher’s 5th symphony at next weeks concert.


The present continuous is NOT used for the future:

-when we make or report predictions about activities over which we have no control (we can’t arrange these):

·        I think it’s going to / will rain.


-When we talk about permanent future situations:

·        People are going to live / will live longer in the future.



5.    Present Simple


-For official arrangements ( Will is also possible): For timetables and programmes.

·        Their plane arrives at 2 o’clock in the morning.

·        The next meeting of the committee is on November 5th.


-For definite, specific Predictions because an activity or event if part of an official arrangement such as a timetable or programme.

·        There’s a full moon tonight.

·        The sun rises at 5.16 tomorrow


-In adverbial clauses introduced by after, before, when, and until.

·        After you go another 50 metres, you’ll see a path to your left.

·        When you see Dennis, tell him he still owes me some money.


-In conditional clauses with if, unless, in case, and  provided.

·        I’ll bring a compass in case we get lost.


6.    Future Continuous


-To talk about an activity or event going on at a particular time or over a particular period in the future.

·        Next Friday, the President will be celebrating ten years in power.

·        After the operation you won’t be doing any sport for a while.


With the future continuous we normally mention the future time (Next Friday, after the operation, etc.)


         When the future activity or event is the result of a previous decision or arrangement.

·        He will be taking up his place at university in July.


         When the future activity is the result of a routine activity.

·        I’ll be seeing Tom on Tuesday. That’s when we usually meet.



7.    Future perfect


-We use the future perfect to say that sthg will be ended, completed, or achieved by a particular point in the future.

·        By the time you get home, I will have cleaned the house from top to bottom.


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