Will vs Be Going To

I think I will drive a tractor this weekend.

Will vs be going to

We use will when we want to talk about something that is in the near future. If we make a decision when we are talking to someone, then we use will.

I am going to have a great day on the farm.

be going to vs will

We use be going to when we made the decision before the time of talking. One way that helps people understand the difference between the two ways we can use the future is by assigning them percentages.

  • e.g. I think I will drive a tractor this weekend.
    • This sentence is only partially planned, so we can assign a percentage of 10% planned.
  • e.g. I am going to have a good day.
    • This sentence has some prior intention or decision, so we can say it is 50% planned.
N.B I use the percentages to help people understand the difference between will and be going to. You won’t find them used in a grammar book.

Will and be going to can mean the same thing sometimes. They have the same meaning when we them  to talk about predictions about the future

  • e.g. It is going to rain tomorrow = It will rain tomorrow.

In the example above, both are making predictions about the future.

N.B When an examiner askes you a question in an oral exam, be sure to respond in the same way.

e.g. What are you going to do this weekend?

  • I am going to travel to Lindsay, Ontario this weekend.

It is important to respond in the same verb tense that the question was asked because you need to show that you understand the question, and that you can respond in the same verb tense.

For more information on the simple future you can check out this post. Also, for more on verb tenses in general you can check out the verb tense overview.

To practice will and be going to, you can check Englishpage.com

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Iain Robson

A teacher, a learner, and all round nice guy. I love talking to people through social media, and in real life. Feel free to connect with me on twitter