Going to: Future Tense

Another way aside from 'will' and 'shall' to talk about the future is by using the verb 'to be' + 'going to'.

going to future grammar

What follows are examples of how going to for the future is used for the affirmative, interrogative and negative.

Note that the verb to be is contracted in speaking and often in informal writing. Going to also tends to sound like 'gonna' when we speak.

Examples of 'going to'

Affirmative:

  • I am going to the cinema later (I'm going to / I'm gonna go to...)
  • They are going to go on holiday in Spain (They're going to / They're gonna go...)
  • Cars are going to increase in price this year.

Interrogative: Yes / No questions

  • Are you going to join us? (Are you gonna join...)
  • Is she going to introduce us?
  • Are the police going to arrest you?

Interrogative: 'Wh' & 'How' Questions

  • Why are you going to write that? (Why are you gonna write...)
  • Where is he going to hide?
  • How are you going to explain what you did?

Negative:

For going to future tense and the negative, simply add in 'not'. Note the two contractions.

  • This job is not going to get easier (This job isn't gonna get...)
  • She is not going to make the dinner tonight
  • Why are you not going to come with us?

When to use 'going to'

We tend to use 'going to' for the future when we want to talk about planned future events or predictions based on present or past evidence. 

This is the main way that it differs from will to talk about the future, which is used for spontaneous decisions.

Planned future events

In these cases, the intention is premeditated i.e. planned. For example:

  • We're going to travel around Australia for three months next year
  • She's going to get married next month

Predictions based on present or past evidence

In this case, there are some facts or evidence that exist to merit a prediction (rather than a plan as above). 

  • It's going to be very hot (evidence: you've seen a weather forecast)
  • The workers are going to get a pay rise next month (evidence: the manager told you this)

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