Back to the Future – “Will” or “Be Going To”?

Hello everyone,

 

Today’s post is about how to use “will” and “to be going to” correctly when we talk about the future.

I hope to give you a technique that will help you so you can use it in conversation easily.

 

First it’s important to understand the principal difference between the two.

 

Let’s start with “be going to”.

 

When we talk about a plan or a decision that has already been made, we use “be going to”.

For example, if we have booked a holiday to Spain for next month we would say:

“We are going to go to Spain next month”.

And not:

“We will go to Spain next month”.

 

How is “will” different?

 

Well, when we have no plan or we make a decision in the moment we use “will”.

For example, when someone makes a suggestion and we react we would say:

A:   “Let’s have a picnic!”

B:   “OK, great idea! I will make some sandwiches”.

And not:

A:   “Let’s have a picnic!”

B:   “OK, great idea! I am going to make some sandwiches“.

 

To summarise:

Be going to = decisions made already (decisions déjà prises).

Will = decisions made in the moment (decisions prises sur le moment).

 

So, what is the technique?

 

If you are reacting to something in a conversation or in writing, for example you agree and then you decide to do something, use “will”.

 

So think: “OK, I will…” or “OK, I’ll…

 

For example:

A friend tells you he’s going for a walk. You think it’s a good idea. You’d say:

OK, I will come with you.”

Or,

You receive an email asking you to send some information. You’d write back:

OK, I’ll send you the information right now”.

 

And for every other situation when you have decided already what you’re going to do or you are certain about the future, use “be going to”.

 

For example:

It’s your birthday at the weekend and you’ve planned a party. You want a friend to come.

“We’re going to have a party at the weekend, do you want to come?”

 

And that’s it!*

 

I hope this is useful. See you soon!

 

 

*In fact, you can use “will” and “be going to” interchangeably when talking about facts or predictions.