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. 

will

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 (154 votes)

Hi Rabearabea,

We can use "will" to express timetabled future activities that are also offers and promises. For example, an advertisement for a travel holiday may do this, because it is attempting to offer the activities to the reader and make them think about buying the holiday (instead of simply describing the travel itinerary to the reader in a factual way). It might say something like "On day 1 you will visit the National Museum. On day 2 you will take a boat to Green Island ..." (etc.)

I hope that helps.

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello The Learn English Team, Jonathan
Thank for your explanation on 'will'. It was of great help to me.
Rabea

Hello sir .plz help me find the correct answer of it. Don't forget to take an umbrella. It ......is raining or is going to rain . I think it shoud be is going to rain as the previous statement is showing prediction.

Hello khadkakopila123,

Both are possible -- it depends on whether it is raining now or if the speaker is making a prediction. If this is an exercise from a book, I think you are probably right in thinking that it is 'is going to rain'. But both sentences can make sense.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot the learn English Team.
I would be grateful to you if you could tell the answer of this question. What Kiran likes the most is he likes to play the guitar at the concert,......?supply the correct tag.

Submitted by MohamedMosta on Tue, 02/08/2022 - 00:54

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Hello LeanrEnglish Team.
i need to know if I understand wee.
1-I am going to the cinema tonight.(That means i have already arranged it and maybe i booked a ticket).
2- I am going to go to the cinema tonight. (I this example. I have planned to do it, but may be at any time during the day I may change my mind and do not go)

Submitted by Bob.Mux on Wed, 01/12/2021 - 04:51

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Hello the team!
I would really appreciate if you could help me understand the use of modal "will" in the sentences below:
A daughter: Mum, my flat is being decorated. Can i come and stay with you?
A mother: Of course, dear. How long will you stay?
Here, why is "will" used? I think, we can assume her staying as a plan or an intention because she could have diceded to stay with her parents before the time of the conversation with her mum so using "be going to+ verb or future/present continuous will be the best choice... and second, is it ok if we use "will" for arrangements wen we wish to express our determination about an what we have already arranged? For example,
I am helping my friend with cleaning the room. ( my arrangement with the friend)
I will help my friend with cleaning the room ( my determination, whatever happens, i am still going to help my friend

Hi Bob.Mux,

In the first example, there are several possibilities. "Will" could indicate an intention or willingness (similar in meaning to "How long do you want to stay?"), or it could indicate certainty (i.e., asking about the daughter's particular needs or requirements). You may find this Cambridge Dictionary page useful: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/will?q=Will

Yes, it is possible to say "How long are you going to stay?" or "How long are you staying?", as you mention. But in these cases, the mother assumes that the daughter has already made the decision to stay with her parents - even before asking whether it is OK to do so. In other words, the question "Can I come and stay with you?" is not genuinely asking for permission (because the answer is understood by mother and daughter to be an obvious 'yes' since the daughter has already made her plan to stay) but instead just informing the mother of the daughter's intention.

On the other hand, if we understand "Can I come and stay with you?" as a genuine request for permission, then the mother would be less likely to use going to and present continuous in her reply, because the daughter's intention depends on whether the mother gives permission or not (i.e., it's not a confirmed plan).

Interesting example and I hope that helps :)

Jonathan
The LearnEnglish Team