How we use ‘To Be Going To’ in English
When do we use to be going to in English for the future?
When learning English grammar, people tend to use the future simple (will + infinitive) to speak about everything to do with the future but we cannot use ‘will’ for everything we want to say, there are other grammar structures we use to talk about the future too.
They say ‘old habits die hard’ but today we are going to try to get rid of using ‘will’ when it is not appropriate.
This blog post is about ‘Going to’!
The two uses of ‘to be going to’
We use the structure to be going to in English to talk about the future in two ways:
- To talk about future plans
- To talk about predictions.
So let’s get stuck in and look first at future plans.
Plans for the future
When we are making plans – things we would like to do in the future – we use the structure:
to be going to + infinitive
We don’t just use it for long term plans, we also use it for plans today/tomorrow/this week e.g what you’re going to have for dinner, what your going to do after work etc.
I am going to have pizza for dinner this evening.
I am going to go to the cinema after work.
To be going to - for plans
We use to be + going to + infinitive when we make a plan for the future
Predictions about the future
We use the structure to be going to + infinitive to make a prediction about the future when we have information/evidence that helps us make that prediction.
This is used on a daily basis in things like weather forecasts or predictions surrounding the economy and even vaccines for viruses. See some examples:
Today is going to be a rainy day!
The economy in 2021 is going to increase.
The vaccine is going to be given to people all around the world in January.
All of these predictions were made using some information or evidence based on science, research or studies by professionals in these areas.
However, it is not just used for formal situations. We may also use it for general predictions.
If you see someone’s cup of coffee is near the edge of the table and it looks like it could easily fall you can say:
Be careful, your cup is going to fall off the table.
The structure is exactly the same as before.
To be going to - for predictions
We also use to be + going to + infinitive when we make a prediction using infromation we already have
Using contractions with 'to be going to'
Contractions are common practice in speaking English.
Below you can see a list of the structure for all persons:
Contractions of ‘to be going to’
I’m going to go
You’re going to go
He’s/She’s going to go
It’s going to go
You’re going to go
We’re going to go
They’re going to go
Remember: after ‘to be going to’ we can use any verb in the infinitive e.g going to eat/visit/sing etc.
Make predictions based on the evidence you are given in the sentences.
Example: You see someone on the beach and they begin to walk towards the sea wearing a swim suit. What is he going to do?
Answer: He is going to go swimming in the sea.
- Your friend is getting dressed in fancy clothes and putting on make up. Where is she going to go?
- It is December. Your mother has taken some food from the freezer and she is chopping up some onions. What is she going to do?
- It’s your birthday soon and your girlfriend is on amazon looking at things that you like. What is she going to buy?
- You see a couple in nice clothes walking into a restaurant. What are they going to do?
To be going to - in questions
Sometimes we want to ask someone their plans or ask them what they predict.
In both these cases we can use this structure:
Question word + am/are/is + going to + infinitive
What are you going to do tomorrow?
Where are you going to go on holiday?
Who is going to be the next president?
In addition to this we can make direct, yes/no questions without a question word.
To do this, we use the auxiliary to be + subject + going to + infinitive.
Is she going to have a party for her birthday?
Is Barcelona going to win the tournament this year?
Questions with 'to be going to'
To make a question we use: Question word + to be + subject + going to + infinitive
Am/is/are + subject + going to + infinitive
'To be going to' video
Choose the correct answer to the questions
Tend to (do): means we are in the habit of doing something (e.g he tends to be late)
Long term plan: A plan for the distant future
Common practice: something that is common/normal for the majority of people to do
Weather forecast: A prediction of weather conditions that gives us information about winds, temperatures etc.
To get rid of: To throw/put something away
Example: Can you get rid of that phone please! We are trying to have a class
To get stuck in: To start something immediately
Example: We have all got the food we ordered! Lets get stuck in!
Old habits die hard: it is difficult to change old habits
Example: I am trying to give up sugar but it is just so difficult. Old habits die hard.
Did you enjoy reading the blog post? To find out more about using ‘will’ and ‘going to’ to talk about the future please follow the link. You can also find many more similar posts in our English grammar guide.
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