'Will' vs. 'Going to"

English grammar and usage issues

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'Will' vs. 'Going to"

Unread postby goteamben » 08 Nov 2006, 21:23


I'm a student studying TEFL, and am doing an essay on teaching the difference between 'going to' and 'will' when refering to the future. I'm struggling a little bit and have a few questions, if anyone could help me out or give an opinion on any of the following points that'd be fantastic.

- What difficulties might a student find in learning the distinction
- Would there be problems for a particular nationality (L1 speaker)

and very embarrasingly for an English student...I'm not sure on the difference between form, function and meaning, so if anyone could clarify that for me that would be great (especially if they wanted to use 'going to' and 'will' as examples!)

Many Thanks,


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Will vs. Going to

Unread postby jirkux » 02 Jan 2007, 12:04

Hi Ben,
I guess that my answer if a bit too late for you but anyway.
Future forms in English are generally kind of tricky. We can express future in many ways will and going to are just two of them.
This is how I see it:

!1. Wait, I'll come with you.
2. I'm going to see my mother this weekend.

The main thing we have to take into account when deciding which form to use is "What was the decision about the future action made". In the first example the decision was probably made at the time of speaking. It is a spontaneous reaction. While in the latter it is a plan. The decision was made before. I'm pretty sure about that. It is personal plan.

1. I think it will rain tomorrow.
2. Look at the clouds it's going to rain.

In these two example both future forms are used for prediction. The first one is a simple prediction. I don't really know what the weather will be like tomorrow but I think it will rain. The second one is also a prediction but there is some "evidence" that makes me think so. So I am not simply predicting but I am quite sure that it's going to happen.

Of course the problem is much more complex a the examples above are very general. I hope it helps.


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