I’m going to write about predictions, plans and willingness.  When I’m done, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of two patterns used to express future events:  will and be going to.

I think; therefore, it may be

The first use of these patterns is to do what I just did, which is to make predictions.  Often we want to say what we expect to happen.  Very often we can use will or be going to with little or no difference in meaning:

She’s going to love it!
She’ll love it!

It’s going to cost a lot!
It’ll cost a lot!

He’s probably going to be late.
He’ll probably be late.

I think they’re going to pass their exam.
I think they’ll pass their exam.

Notice that we often use a phrase like I think or I guess to express that we are not exactly certain that something will happen.  We just believe it will.

Notice also that will (like all modals) and be going to are followed by a base verb.
Not ed.  Not ing.  Not a past participle.

She’s going to watched TV.  It will costing a lot.  They will driven to work.

Also, don’t follow will or be going to with to.  You might think this is obvious in the case of be going to.  Nobody is going to say be going to to watch TV, right?  But going to is very often pronounced gonna, and a common error is to say I’m gonna to go, She’s gonna to study, etc. – which is exactly the same as saying going to to go and going to to study.

What to do

Having written down a few ideas about predictions, I’ll turn to decisions. Here, we can use will to express decisions we make at the time we are speaking or writing.  This is how you decide out loud: 

A:  Sally and I are going to a movie.  What are you doing tonight? 
B:  I’ll go with you!

A:  We have a test on Monday.  Let me know if you have any questions.
B:  Sure, I’ll look over my notes and send you a message if that’s ok.

A:  Beautiful day!  Do you want to go biking?
B:  Sure!  I’ll pack some snacks and bring some water.

Sometimes we use will to negotiate decisions: 

I’ll clean the dishes if you cook dinner.
If you look after the kids, I’ll go get the groceries.

A:  Wow the grass is getting long!
B:  I’ll cut it.  Can you make me an ice coffee, please?

But sometimes a decision has already been made.  Sometimes I intend to do something before I even talk about it, if I talk about it. In that case, be going to is more accurate:

I’m going to study on Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday, I’m just going to relax.
I’m going to work on my blog for a few hours.  I need to get it finished!
I’m going to go biking after lunch.

And we can ask about a person’s intentions and decisions:

Are you going to call her this weekend?
Are you going to start looking for a job?

Acts of will and defiance

Finally, you can volunteer to do something using the word will:

Don’t worry!  I’ll help you!
There’s the doorbell.  I’ll get it!
You stay in bed.  I’ll make breakfast.

And you can refuse to do something (or something can refuse):

I’ve tried everything, but this computer won’t connect to the Internet.  (won’t is the same as will not)
This is the same as  I can’t connect (this computer) to the internet (and nobody can.)

You have read a few explanations and looked at some examples.  You are ready to use will and be going to accurately. Great!
But let’s go back to predictions.  I said that we can very often use will and be going to to make predictions.  Very often, but not always.  In fact, only one of these two constructions is correct:

Look at those dark clouds!  It’s going to rain!
Look at those dark clouds!  It’ll rain!

Which one sounds better to you?  My next blog will take a closer look at making predictions using will and be going to.
See you soon 🙂

(Featured Image by Garlik Barseghyan/ Pixabay)

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