The future is a funny thing. Some of us worry about it, others try to predict it, but in many situations in life we will need to talk about it. As we continue to look at all the verb tenses in English, in this week’s blog we will be going over the future verb tenses and how they are used. When you think about “the future” in English you probably think about “will” or “going to”. But there are many ways to talk about the future in English but in today’s blog, we’ll just look at the difference between these two common ways.
What's the difference between "will" and "going to"?
Simple Future has two different forms in English: "will" and "be going to." Although the two forms can sometimes be used interchangeably, they often express two very different meanings. These different meanings might seem too abstract at first, but with time and practice, the differences will become clear. Both "will" and "be going to" refer to a specific time in the future.
Use ‘Will’ to talk about voluntary actions.
"Will" often suggests that a speaker will do something voluntarily. A voluntary action is one the speaker offers to do for someone else. Often, we use "will" to respond to someone else's complaint or request for help. We also use "will" when we request that someone help us or volunteer to do something for us. Similarly, we use "will not" or "won't" when we refuse to voluntarily do something.
- I will send you the information when I get it.
- I will translate the email, so Mr. Smith can read it.
- Will you help me move this heavy table?
- Will you make dinner?
- I will not do your homework for you.
- I won't do all the housework myself!
- A: I'm really hungry.
B: I'll make some sandwiches.
- A: I'm so tired. I'm about to fall asleep.
B: I'll get you some coffee.
- A: The phone is ringing.
B: I'll get it.
"Will" is usually used in promises.
- I will call you when I arrive.
- If I am elected President of the United States, I will make sure everyone has access to inexpensive health insurance.
- I promise I will not tell him about the surprise party.
- Don't worry, I'll be careful.
- I won't tell anyone your secret.
Use "Be going to" to express a plan.
"Be going to" expresses that something is a plan. It expresses the idea that a person intends to do something in the future. It does not matter whether the plan is realistic or not.
- He is going to spend his vacation in Hawaii.
- She is not going to spend her vacation in Hawaii.
- A: When are we going to meet each other tonight?
B: We are going to meet at 6 PM.
- I'm going to be an actor when I grow up.
- Michelle is going to begin medical school next year.
- They are going to drive all the way to Alaska.
- Who are you going to invite to the party?
- A: Who is going to make John's birthday cake?
B: Sue is going to make John's birthday cake.
Use either "Will" or "Be Going to" to express a prediction.
Both "will" and "be going to" can express the idea of a general prediction about the future. Predictions are guesses about what might happen in the future. In "prediction" sentences, the subject usually has little control over the future and therefore USES 1-3 do not apply. In the following examples, there is no difference in meaning.
- The year 2222 will be a very interesting year.
- The year 2222 is going to be a very interesting year.
- John Smith will be the next President.
- John Smith is going to be the next President.
- The movie "Zenith" will win several Academy Awards.
- The movie "Zenith" is going to win several Academy Awards.
In the Simple Future, it is not always clear which USE the speaker has in mind. Often, there is more than one way to interpret a sentence's meaning.
Remember that future time clauses are in present tense, never future.
Like all future forms, the Simple Future cannot be used in clauses beginning with time expressions such as: when, while, before, after, by the time, as soon as, if, unless, etc. Instead of Simple Future, Simple Present is used.
- When you will arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Not Correct
- When you arrive tonight, we will go out for dinner. Correct
Be careful where you place adverbs.
The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
- You will never help him.
- Will you ever help him?
- You are never going to meet Jane.
- Are you ever going to meet Jane?
Now test yourself!
Find and correct the mistakes in these sentences. Two of the sentences have no errors.
1. I tidy up my room when I get home this evening.
2. If the telephone rings, I’ll answer it.
3. After the floor will have been vacuumed, I’ll clean it.
4. By the time you get home we will finish dinner.
5. We’ll be waiting for you when your plane is going to land at the airport.
6. Liz has a baby next month.
7. The new stadium will be finished in the spring.
8. You won’t be able to get in the house if you won’t remember your key.
Scroll to the bottom to check your answers.
- 1. I will tidy up my room when I get home this evening.
- 2. Correct
- 3. After the floor is vacuumed, I’ll clean it.
- 4. By the time you get home we will have finished dinner.
- 5. We’ll be waiting for you when you plane lands at the airport.
- 6. Liz will have a baby next month.
- 7. Correct
- 8. You won’t be able to get in the house if you don’t remember your key.
Some of them also use “Future Continuous” and “Future Perfect” tenses.
英語を話す時、あなたは "get your wires crossed" しますか?