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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. 

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

Nivel de idioma

Intermediate: B1

Comments

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.

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.

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?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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 Bharati

I'd say it's not clear what the time reference is. Whether the clause refers to a present or future time, we use a present simple (or sometimes present perfect) verb form in a time clause beginning with 'when', which makes the exact time reference ambiguous. 

The context would probably make this clear, though.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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?

Hello Ardalan

In first conditional structures, 'will' + infinitive is the most common verb form, but others (such as 'be going to' + infinitive) are also possible.

So, you could say 'I'll get' or 'I'm going to get', though note that there is a slight difference in meaning. In the case of 'I'll get', the speaker is making the decision in the moment they say this. In contrast, 'I'm going to get' shows that the speaker already had this plan before making this statement.

In the case of the sentence in Grammar test 2 that you ask about, however, 'I'll get' would be strange because the speaker seems to have plans about the future. The fact that they don't yet have the pay rise suggests they already have plans and so 'I'm going to get' is a better choice than 'I'll get'.

Does that make sense? It's quite a subtle point and we're going to look into changing that question so that it's clearer. I'm sorry for any confusion that might have caused.

Best wishes

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

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