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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

Language level

Intermediate: B1

Comments

Hi dear teachers,

In ex2 there is a question saying, what............ next week. the correct answer is, what are you doing. So, is it Okay to also say what will you do next week?

Hello Maahir,

We use 'will' to speak about decisions that we make in the moment. In most contexts, we'd assume that this question is about plans that someone already has, so the present continuous form is better here.

Hope that helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Many Thanks.

Hi learn English team
Can you help me pls with the correct answer.
Tomorrow is the day I’ve decided 1. I’m going to start/ I’ll start/ I’m starting planning my future. The first thing 2. I’ll do / I’m doing/ I’m going to do is to make a wish list of all the things I hope 3. I’ll achieve / I’m achieving/ I’m going to achieve.
Thanks in advance.
Best wishes
Andi

Hello Andi,

For 1, I'd recommend just 'to start' over any of those options; but if I had to choose one, I suppose I'd choose the first one. For 2, the 'going to' form. For 3, I'd just say 'to achieve', but if I had to choose one, I'd choose the 'going to' form again.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk
But at 3 I hope I think I expect is usually followed by “ will “ which expresses predictions why your choice was the going to form?

Hello Andi,

The beginning of the sentences you asked about establishes a different context. 'Tomorrow is the day I've decided' makes it sound as if you're making a plan now for a future time. 'going to' is the most typical form we use to speak about plans.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk
I’ve just came across the correct answers of the paragraph I have mentioned above and they are as follows: in all the three cases present continues is incorrect and two others are correct . I want to leave out the going to form from your focus. I need you to explain please why in all three cases present continues is incorrect and will is correct. Sorry for going this over again but I’m not fully clear about this.
Best wishes
Andi

Hello Andi,

In all three cases, the speaker seems to be speaking about a decision they've made just now. We use the present continuous to speak about plans that have already been arranged, which is incompatible with plans that we've decided just now.

Hope this helps.

All the best,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk
Thanks for the response concerning future plans . Really appreciate it.
Can you help me please over this paragraph.

That means finding accessories to set them off and making decisions about the model’s hair.

In this paragraph Finding and making are present participle or gerund ? And why please?
Sorry for asking this question in this section but I couldn’t find the relevant section
Best wishes
Andi

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