Will Vs be going to

Many resources say that people use will or be going to when talking about the future. But what’s the difference?

We use will when we think about:

  • possibilities and make a prediction.
  • options and make a decision

We often make a decision to go somewhere. Then we go there, moving through space. Then we are there.will vs be going to - decisions and physical movement. 1. make a decision, 2. go (be going to a place), 3. Be there.

We talk about time the same way we talk about space. We make a decision to do something. Then we move through time until it happens in the future.

will vs be going to - decisions and future plans (actions or events). 1. Decide, 2. have a plan (time keeps moving up until the planned action/event), 3. Do it.

I’m going to ( = not finished now) do something ( = next step).
The next step is sometime in the future. We don’t need to say when it is going to happen.

Subject be going to Verb Object Time
She is going to wait.  She’s going to wait.
I am going to watch TV all day.  I’m going to watch TV all day.
He isn’t going to drink coffee today. He isn’t going to drink coffee today.

We can also use be (am, are, is) + going to for predictions based on clear evidence.
These things are controlled by laws of the universe. There are no other possibilities.

He’s going to fall off!
She doesn’t have an umbrella. She’s going to get wet.


When people use be going to the words going to sometimes get blended together into gonna.

Complete the sentences with will or be going to

How did you go?

The meanings of these structures are similar, but they are different. In some situations you can use will or be going to, either expression fits. But, in some situations it makes sense to use one but not the other.

If you’d like to go over them again you can review information on will.

And to better understand be going to, take another look at  be -ing.