Future forms: 'will', 'be going to' and present continuous

Future forms: 'will', 'be going to' and present continuous

Do you know how to talk about future plans using will, going to and the present continuous? Test what you know with interactive exercises and read the explanation to help you.

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

Average: 4 (143 votes)
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Hello Nebaneche,

I wanted to point out that we have another page called Talking about the future that explains this same grammar in a little more detail. Perhaps that could help you understand this a little better.

Please let us know if you have any specific questions.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Maria etsesomi on Wed, 15/07/2020 - 10:07

It's really interesting. I am going to learn a lot of new things here

Submitted by Dastenova Firuza on Sun, 12/07/2020 - 16:37

I am satisfied with my rsults.
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Submitted by Karan Narang on Wed, 08/07/2020 - 04:46

After the comments I am going to have milk with some biscuit after having milk I will get ready to go shop after that time I am doing some work in the shop.

Submitted by Hamdy Ali on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 18:16

Choose A: How about meeting tonight? B: Ok,I(will meet-am going to meet- am meeting) you at 7 this evening. Is this an arrangement or aquick decision? Thank you in advance.
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Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 15/06/2020 - 06:57

In reply to by Hamdy Ali


Hello Hamdy Ali,

If person A is asking about the possibility of meeting then it is clear that there were no plans before. Thus the answer represents a decision taken at the time of speaking. So now that we have explained that, can you can tell us which form is appropriate?



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 09/06/2020 - 15:32

Hello Sir 1. The door bell rings. I will get it. 2. The door bell is ringing. I will get it. Please let me know whether number 2. is right or wrong. Can't one use present continuous in this situation instead of present simple. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

The second sentence is fine.

The first sentence is not correct, however, unless it is part of a narrative (a story) which uses the present tense throughout - some authors employ this technique. You need the present continuous here, or a past simple if the bell has stopped ringing.



The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 03:15

It's really interesting.

Submitted by Bharati on Mon, 27/04/2020 - 10:15

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.