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Future plans

Do you know how to talk about future plans using will, going to and the present continuous?

Look at these examples to see how will, going to and the present continuous are used.

Oh great! That meeting after work's been cancelled. I'll go to that yoga class instead. 
I'm going to try to visit my relatives in Australia this year.
The restaurant is reserved for 8. We're having a drink at Beale's first.

Try this exercise to test your grammar.

Grammar test 1

Future plans: Grammar test 1

Grammar explanation

We use different verb forms to talk about our plans for the future, depending on what kind of plan it is: a spontaneous plan, a pre-decided plan or an arrangement. 


We use will to talk about spontaneous plans decided at the moment of speaking.

Oops, I forgot to phone Mum! I'll do it after dinner. 
I can't decide what to wear tonight. I know! I'll wear my green shirt.
There's no milk. I'll buy some when I go to the shops.

going to

We use going to to talk about plans decided before the moment of speaking.

I'm going to phone Mum after dinner. I told her I'd call at 8 o'clock.
I'm going to wear my black dress tonight. 
I'm going to go to the supermarket after work. What do we need? 

Present continuous

We usually use the present continuous when the plan is an arrangement – already confirmed with at least one other person and we know the time and place.

I'm meeting Jane at 8 o'clock on Saturday. 
We're having a party next Saturday. Would you like to come?

We often use the present continuous to ask about people's future plans.

Are you doing anything interesting this weekend?

Do this exercise to test your grammar again.

Grammar test 2

Future plans: Grammar test 2

Language level

Intermediate: B1


It's really interesting.

Hello kirk,
Hope you to be doing good in the midst of Pandemic. I am indeed grateful for your repeated indulgence on the subject which has bothered me often.
May i request you to clarify the time references for the following subordinate clauses :-
"He will come to know what i need"or "What i need will be known to him"
1.What will be the time reference of "what i need" ? My instinct tells me present time even though the main clause is in future.
Best wishes and regards.

Hello dear Kirk/Peter

There is a test above that contains:
When I get my pay rise, _____ a bigger flat.
The answer is "I'm going to get" but I've learnt in first conditional sentences that we can use when instead of if. And the structure is "if/when + present simple >> will + infinitive". So can we use in these sentence "I'll get" or not?


Help!! Can you explain me, what is the difference betwen future continuous and Present continuous? In this case, for example:
a.) I'm meeting Jane at 8 o'clock
b.) I'll be meeting Jane at 8 o'clock

Hello jazmin marquez,

The first sentence (I'm meeting) describes something which has been arranged and is already set in your (mental) diary. It is not only an intention or expectation, but an already agreed and fixed event.

The second sentence (I'll be meeting) is a little less certain. It describes something that you expect to happen, perhaps because this is something which is part of your normal daily activities, but which you do not necessarily see as absolutely certain.


Obviously, the difference here is one of emphasis and perspective. It's really about how the speaker sees the event rather than anything else, so generally the speaker can choose which form they want to use, based on what they wish to emphasise.



The LearnEnglish Team

Now I understand better, thank you very much.

seek your clarification on the time reference(present/future) of imperative sentences
Ex-if someone says"give me coffee "does it imply that it refers to immediate future or it means present time. I ask this as in example sentence where decision is made at the moment , we say "i would like to have coffee(=give me coffee) " .This sentence
appear to be talking about immediate future.