Grammar > Verb tenses > Future: Going to

Future: Going to

By Alena Lien, 17 Aug 2020

 

 

"Going to" is a grammatical construction in English that is used to refer to various types of future occurrences. Although it uses the present participle "going," it is not considered present continuous tense in any way. 

It is usually used after a decision has been made but before arrangements are made. However there are several different ways of using "going to."

Uses

1.   When a decision has been made but not yet arranged. 

 

  • "Are you going to watch the game tonight?"

    • "No, I'm not going to watch the game tonight. I'm going to the cinema."

If arrangements have been made, we would use the present continuous (future meaning) instead. However, the difference can be quite subtle, so either forms are acceptable.

 

  • "Are you watching the game tonight?"

    • "No. I'm not watching the game tonight. I'm watching a movie instead."

2.   To make predictions - based on current evidence.

  • "It's going to rain soon."

    • "No, it's not going to rain. The weather forecast says it's not going to rain 'til next week!"

This can also be used to express something that is about to happen.

  • "It's going to explode!"

 

 

3.   When you intended (or decided) to do something but did not.

 

Here it is used in the past tense.

  • "We were going to take the bus but decided to catch an Uber instead."

  • "The weather forecast said it wasn't going to rain, and then we got caught in the rain!"

 

4.   As a command or to state something that is obligatory.

 

  • "He's going to have to work harder this semester."

  • "You're not going to listen to a word he says because it's not true!"

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