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Be going to / Will

Future intent and prediction

 

am going to textwill text
 

 

Be going vs. Will

FUTURE – RELATED TO THE CURRENT TIME FRAME

Be going expresses an activity or plan already in thought or motion, or intentions related to the present time frame (current reality.) "This is about to happen." "I can almost see it happening." Be going is more commonly used in speech.

BE GOING INFINITIVE VERB FORM

I am going

to text Brad the news right now.  (intention, plan already in action)

Brad isn't going

to believe what just happened.   (the future as it relates to current reality)

Jason is going

to break up with his girlfriend after school today. (intention, plan already in action)

Jill is going

to be so surprised. (about to happen)

I wonder how he's going

to say it to her.  (about to happen)

She's going

to be so upset. (about to happen)

FUTURE — SEPARATE FROM THE CURRENT TIME FRAME

Will expresses an activity we think, guess, know or predict will happen at a time later than the current time frame.Will is commonly used for reporting information, calculations, schedules or plans.                                                                     

WILL PLAIN FORM VERB

I'll

text Alan tomorrow when he gets back.  (scheduled in future)

Alan won't

believe what happened.  (prediction)

Jason will

get back together with his girlfriend next week. (prediction)

Jill will

be surprised. (prediction)

I wonder how he will

say it to her. (guess)

They will  

get back together by the end of next week. (prediction, certain)

 

about to – soon, ready
break up (v.) – end a romantic relationship
doubt (v.) – think that something may not be true or that it is unlikely
time frame (n.) – a period of time during which something takes place
Also see Scheduled Events (present tense)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will / Be Going

In subordinate clauses

 

 

 

Opinion

WILL

Will may be used after a clause stating opinion, "I think..."  (hope, believe, know, understand, realize, etc.)

MAIN CLAUSE SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

I hope that

you will buy a new cell phone.  

I think that

you will get a better service agreement. 

 I doubt that

you will avoid paying extra service charges.  avoid (v.) – stop

BE GOING

Be going is not used after a clause stating an opinion in the future.

MAIN CLAUSE SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

I hope that

*you are going to  buy a new cell phone.  

 I think that

*you are going to  get a better service agreement. 

 I doubt that

*you are going to  avoid paying extra service charges. 

 

avoid (v.) – stop
service provider
(n.) – a company such as a telephone, Internet or television cable company that offers you a service 

 

 

 

Memory

WILL

Will is not used after a clause with a verb related to memory, "I remember..."  (remember, recall, recollect, forget, etc.)

MAIN CLAUSE SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

I recall that

you will take to buy a new phone next week.

I remember that

you will give us a call on Friday.

I forgot that

he will wait for us a call.

BE GOING

Be going is used after a clause with a verb related to memory

MAIN CLAUSE SUBORDINATE CLAUSE

I recall that

you were going to buy a new phone next week.

I remember that

you were going to give us a call on Friday.

I forgot that

he was going to wait for us to call.

 

The verb forget is almost always used in the past tense form

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be going to come/go

Repetitive wording

 

 

 

Repetitive word groups

BE GOING TO

Speakers tend to avoid using going to before come or go.  It's not incorrect; it just sounds awkward, repetitive.

I am going to come home around six o'clock tonight.   

I am going to go there around six o'clock tonight.   

WILL

Will sounds less repetitive before come or go.

I'll come home around six o'clock tonight.   

I'll go there around six o'clock tonight.      

 

tend (v.) – have preference for
unconscious (adj.) – a feeling or thought that you have without realizing it; from subconscious

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Going (to)

Two Meanings – future intent / purpose

 

 

 

Expressing future intent vs. purpose

FUTURE INTENT

Be going  followed by an infinitive to+ verb expresses an activity that the person is about to do (ready, near future).  "What do you intend to do? "

 VERB COMPLEMENT

I am going

to buy a new cell phone downtown.  

We are going

to get a better service agreement there.

PURPOSE

Be going followed by a clause beginning with an infinitive may express purpose (in order) to + verb. "Why are you going there? "

 VERB ADJUNCT CLAUSE

I am going downtown

(in order) to buy a new mobile phone.  

I am going there

(in order) to get a better service agreement.

 

Functions: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complement:  elements required by the verb: object, indirect object, predicative complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj,  Adv, clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Going

A Plan vs. A Failed Plan

 

 

 

Be going to – future vs. past

A PLAN

Is / Are / Am going  to + verb  express an intent to do something.

INTENT

I am going to do my homework this afternoon. 

He is going to fix the bathroom sink.

They are going to improve our train system.

A FAILED PLAN

Was / Were going  to + verb  express failure or change of plans. A but-clause is often included with an excuse, a reason for the careless or contrary behavior.

PAST INTENT EXCUSE CLAUSE

I was going to do my homework this afternoon,

but I played soccer instead.

He was going to fix the bathroom sink,

but he didn't have the correct parts.

They were going to improve the train system,

but the ran out of money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentence Structure

Word Order

 

 

 

AUXILIARY VERB SUBJECT AUXILIARY VERB VERB BASE INFINITIVE PHRASE TAG CLAUSE
STATEMENT          

intent

They    

will 

return.

 

 

scheduled

They  

are 

returning. 

 

 

intent / scheduled

They  

are 

going  

to return.

 

QUESTION          

Will 

they    

 

return.

 

 

Are 

they    

 

returning. 

 

 

Are 

they    

 

going  

to return.

 

TAG QUESTION          

intent

They    

will 

return,

 

won't they?

scheduled

They  

are 

returning,

 

aren't they?

intent / scheduled

They  

are 

going  

to return,

aren't they?

NEGATIVE          

intent

They    

won't

return.

 

 

scheduled

They  

aren't

returning. 

 

 

intent / scheduled

They  

aren't

going  

to return.

 

W / ADVERB          

intent

They    

will finally

return.

 

 

scheduled

They  

are also

returning. 

 

 

intent / scheduled

They  

are really

going  

to return.


 

A tag question can also occur with a negative main sentence and a positive final question: They won't return, will they?   Related page: And so / too   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Future Expressions

Other Structures with Future Interpretations

 

 

 

Expressions with future time frames

STRUCTURE WITH FUTURE INTERPRETATION

A number of other constructions express a future time frame.

IMPERATIVE

Leave your key with the front desk when you leave.  imperative, obligation

See Imperative Clauses

MANDATIVE

It is important that you leave your key at the front desk. mandate, obligation

See Imperative Clauses.

PRESENT

He leaves / is leaving tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. scheduled

See Scheduled Events.

CONDITIONAL – subordinate clause

If he leaves, I'll leave as well.   future conditional

See Pres/Future-Conditional.

MODAL – bare infinitive

I shall / will leave tomorrow.  personal intent, determination

See Will / Would.

VERB – infinitive complement

I intend to leave tomorrow.   wish or plan

See Verb + infinitive.

VERB – gerund complement

I plan on leaving tomorrow.   wish or plan

See Verb + gerund.

EXPRESSION

A similar meaning may be expressed using other words (or a subordinated clause.)

 

It is my will/wish that you leave your key at the front desk later.
All commands are made with the expectation of future completion.  

 

It is important in my view that you leave your key at the front desk later.
All wishes are made with the hope of future completion.  

 

He has made his schedule so that he will leave tomorrow at 7:00 a.m.
All schedules, routines, habits are carried out with the expectation of future completion.  

 

I will leave on the condition that he will leave as well.
Real conditions are based on either present or future cause-effect events.

 

It is my intention that I will leave tomorrow/ to leave tomorrow.
Other modals — can, may, should, must — also imply future completion. 

 

It is my intention that I will leave tomorrow/ to leave tomorrow.
Several verbs followed by an infinitive such as — hope, plan, expect, wish, like, want — express future completion.  

 

It is my plan that I will leave tomorrow/ to leave tomorrow. 
Few verbs followed by a gerund — plan on, intend — express future completion.  

 

"Future Time" (Huddleston 3 §10.1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR SOLUTION

We are going to go to the movies. 
We are going to come home soon. 

We are going to the movies. come / go
We are coming home soon.

I hope that you are going to get a better car.   

I hope that you will get a better car.  within a clause
 

I'll let you know when we are going to get there. 

I'll let you know when we get there.  After when, we use a present tense verb form. Time-Relative Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Grammar Descriptions

Advanced

 

 

ESL and Linguistic Descriptions

ESL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION
AZAR HUDDLESTON

Will expresses

  • future / prediction Anna will come tomorrow around 5:00.(4.1-2)
  • willingness – a decision made by a speaker at the moment of speaking The phone is ringing.  I'll get it.
  • refusal She won't take her medicine. (animate); The car won't start. (inanimate)

Be going — expresses a prior plan (a plan made before the moment of speaking). I'm going to paint my bedroom [plan already in action]

English lacks a future tense. The future (Futurity) is expressed with modals, especialy will, or semi-modal expressions such as be going (to). (3 §10.1)

The non-progressive aspect suggests a schedule or plan. The progressive aspect suggests the plan is in action.  I'll phone her tonight. / I'm phoning her tonight. I'm going to phone her tonight. (3 §8.3)

Will expresses  (3 §9.5)

  • futurity He will be two tomorrow.  [fact]
  • futurity (epistemic) He will be tired tomorrow.  [prediction (opinion)]
  • assumption or expectation (epistemic) You can look it up. It will be in the dictionary. 
  • volition "willingness" (dynamic) I will be back at 2:00. (shall) / He won't help us.  (3 §9.5.2)
  • propensity Oil and vinegar will separate. (tendency; behavior or properties of inanimate)

Be going is informal.  "Be" has the full set of inflectional forms.

  • Be going  focuses on matrix time – speaking of future as it relates to present plans; activity partially in motion → I'm going to retire in ten years.
  • Was going (past) Unlike is going, was going does not entail that the complement situation was actualized. He was going to ask you. (3 §10.2.7)
  • intention vs. willingness →   I've asked her to help, but she's not going to. (intention) I've asked her to help, but she won't. (refusal)

 

SWAN BIBER

Will expresses  (629)

  • future auxiliary I will be happy when this is done.
  • certainty or confidence about a future situation → It will cost a lot to fix that.(629.3)
  • information and prediction It will be cold tonight. (212)
  • willingness and decisions Who can help? I will.  / I will stop smoking.
  • requests, orders and offers Will you be quiet? What will you drink?   Students will do weekly homework.
  • typical behavior Boys will be boys.
  • refusal (negative) The car won't start. The donkey won't move.  (217.4)

Be going expresses   (213)

  • plans that have some present reality I'm seeing Janet on Tuesday. [current intentions] 
  • predictions with "outside evidence"  See those clouds? it's going to rain. [present evidence] "I can see them coming."
  • refusals I'm not going to take this anymore.  (213.4)

 

Will / Be going   (Biber  6.6.0-6.6.4)
There is no formal future tense in English. (6.2.1.3)
Modals and semi-modals can be grouped into three categories: (485)

  • permission/ possibility / ability: can, could, may, might
  • obligation / necessity: must, should, had better, have (got) to, need to ought to, be supposed to
  • volition / prediction: will, would, shall, be going to

 Semi-modals be going (to), ought (to), have (to), need (to), had better, have got (to), be supposed (to)

Each modal can have two types of meaning:

  • intrinsic: actions and events that humans (or other agents) control directly: permission, obligation, volition (or intention)
  • extrinsic: logical status of events or states; assessments of likelihood: possibility, necessity, or prediction

 

 

Resources (Works Cited)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Near and Far Future Plans

kids talking

 

 

 

KATE: Hi Alex! So what are you doing after school?

ALEX: I have football practice.

KATE: Are you going to study with Alison's group tonight?

ALEX: Tonight? I'm busy. I'll join it next weekend. 

ALISON: We're going to have a quiz tomorrow.

ALEX: But I think the test will be Friday of next week. Do you know what the test will cover?

KATE: I think it'll cover Chapter 5 in our book. Do you think it'll include an essay?

ALISON: I hope not, but we're going to study for that just in case.

ALEX: OK. We'll see you later.

ALISON: Wait! I'm going to get some things from my locker. I'll walk with you two.

cover – within a particular container, location; book chapter (be about readings or information within)

it'll – it + will (informal contraction in speech)

 

 

 

 

1.  Select the option that best describes the time frame in the sentence. 

2.  Click the "check 1-10" button at the bottom of the practice or the individual "check" buttons #1-10 to compare responses as you go.

 

 

1.
KATE: Hi Alex! So what are you doing after school?

            

2.
ALEX: I have football practice.

      

3.
KATE: Are you going to study with Alison's group tonight?

       

4.
ALEX: Tonight? I'm busy. I'll join in next weekend. 

       

5.
ALISON: We're going to have a quiz tomorrow.

       

6.
ALEX: But I think the test will be Friday of next week. Do you know what the test will cover?

       

7.
KATE: I think it will cover Chapter 5 in our book. Do you think it will include an essay?

       

8.
ALISON: I hope not, but we're going to study for that just in case

       

9.
ALEX: OK. We'll see you later.

       

10.
ALISON: Wait! I'm going to get some things from my locker. I'll walk with you.

       


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Spring Break Trip

Road trip

 

 

 

Read

My friends and I (take) a trip during spring break. We (drive) to Yosemite National Park this month. I hope it (be) good weather. We (rent) a SUV for the trip. My cousin (come) with us too.

The trip (be) 515 miles (828 km) round trip. I think it (be) a lot of fun. We (take) a lot of pictures.  After the trip, we (post) our pictures on the Internet.  We'll call you when we (get) home.

get (v.) – arrive

round trip – going there and coming back

spring break (n.) – spring holiday (7-10 days)

SUV – a sports utility vehicle

tend (v.) – have preference for

 

 

 

Select the future verb form (expression).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Click the check 11-20 button at the bottom of the practice to reveal the answers after you finish, or
    c lick the individual "check" buttons #11-20 to compare responses as you go.

 

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Becoming Bilingual

David

 

 

 

 

Read and Rewrite

TOM (teaching assistant): What's new with you?

DAVID (student): I'm going to take a Spanish course this upcoming semester. 

TOM: Do you think you'll be good at learning a language?

DAVID: I have a good memory for learning new vocabulary, but I don't have a good grasp of grammar. So I'm going to take a course in English grammar as well as a course in Spanish.  My school is going to offer a comparative English-Spanish grammar course this upcoming semester.

TOM: That's a great idea and an even better opportunity.

DAVID: Yes, I'm really happy that I'm going to have the chance to take it. My school wants to find out if students with a good knowledge of grammar in their first language can learn a second language more easily. I hope I'm going to improve both my grammar and my ability to speak Spanish.

TOM: That sounds great!

DAVID: Next year, I'm going to be able answer your questions in Spanish.

comparative (adj.)  –  being a comparison

grasp (n.) – take hold with the hand firmly;  comprehension, understanding

in addition to – also, along with

semester (n.) term; a period of time which classes are given

 

 

 

 

Change the dialog above to more formal writing.  Write about David's future plans.

Change pronouns (I, me, his), informal wording, verb forms.

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Click the check 21-28 button at the bottom of the practice to reveal the answers after you finish, or
    c lick the individual "check" buttons #21-28 to compare responses as you go.

 

21.
DAVID: I'm going to take a Spanish course this upcoming semester.  (Change to "next semester".)


22.
DAVID: I have a good memory for learning new vocabulary, but I don't have a good grasp of grammar.


23.
DAVID: So I'm going to take a course in English grammar as well as a course in Spanish.


24.
DAVID: My school is going to offer a comparative English-Spanish grammar course next semester. 


25.
DAVID: Yes, I'm really happy that I'm going to have the chance to take it.


26.
DAVID: My school wants to find out if students with a good knowledge of grammar in their first language can learn a second language more easily.


27.
DAVID: I hope I'm going to improve both my grammar and my ability to speak Spanish.


28.
DAVID: Next year, I'm going to be able to answer your questions in Spanish.