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    #1

    Future - Will and going to

    I'm having some trouble figuring out the rules for the use of will and going to when talking about the future.

    I have learned that one of the most important distinctions between the two is that "will" is used in spontaneous situations, whereas "going to" is used in situations where one already has made a decision about the future as one speaks. For example:

    Did you know, that Joey's been hospitalized?

    a) Yes, I'm going to visit him tomorrow.
    b) Oh my god, no! I'll visit him tomorrow.

    I also learned that "going to" is used, when something seems inevitable to happen:

    Mary's going to have a baby (as opposed to: MAry will have a baby).

    I actually think, these rules work fine for me, but can anyone explain to me, why the following sentences, according to a Danish English-grammar book, should be the most correct, regarding the use of will / going to?

    Why has the authors of the book decided on using "will" (or shall) in stead of "going to"?

    Please note, that the book makes a frequent use of "shall", which I don't, and so I replace "shall" with "will".

    a) We shall (will) never win this match, you know.
    b) Will you pick your parents up at the station tomorrow?
    c) I think, I shall (will) fall asleep during that lecture.
    d) Thw girl's parents hope that she and her boyfriend soon will marry.

    Please, only post an answer if you have a valid background or education for poting your answer. There are a lot of good-inteded, well-meaning "I think that..."-people out there on the internet, only contributiong to build up even more confusion

    Also, if you find any bad grammar in my post, please feel free to correct me!

    Thanks!
    Tbentsen

  1. Khosro's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    To awoid "I think that...":
    What other grammar books have you studied? There are some books which can really help you with "will" and "going to". One of the most famous of them is "English grammar in use" by Murphy which helped me a lot.

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    #3

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    Thank you, Khosro! I'll check that out! And now that I made the decision, I can say that I'm going to check it out

    I have studied a couple of other books, but the one I'm referring to is one of the most popular here in Denmark.

    I see you are an Englishteacher. Do you have any sayings on one or more of the four sentences?

    Kind regards
    T.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    It is considered good practice in this forum for people who respond to questions to give some form of answer before plugging their own websites. As a fully satisfactory answer to this question would take up a lot of space, I am going against good practice. My thoughts can be found here: http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Future.pdf

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    #5

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    It is considered good practice in this forum for people who respond to questions to give some form of answer before plugging their own websites. As a fully satisfactory answer to this question would take up a lot of space, I am going against good practice. My thoughts can be found here: http://www.gramorak.com/Articles/Future.pdf
    Interesting! I'll check it out.

    Thanks!
    T.

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    #6

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    @fivejedjon:

    Thanks for the link! It was interesting - and DAMN frustrating!! And at the same time gave me confirmation that there are only very few bulletproof rules when using future tense. Irritating!

    But ok, you guys, please help me out with this one:

    1) If we don't get more regular customers, the shop is going to close.
    2) If we don't get more regular customers, the shop will close.

    Both could be used according to the explanation of the rules in your link, fivejedjon.

    Would you guys agree with me that:

    1) is used, if we have some kind of evidence, that the statement is going to come true?
    For example:"I've been crunching the numbers, and we are going to...."

    2) is used, if I want to emphasise the seriousness of the situation - like a threat or a promise, where will often is used?
    For example:"If we don't...... the shop wil close, I promise/guarantee you!

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    Quote Originally Posted by tbentsen77 View Post
    1) If we don't get more regular customers, the shop is going to close.
    2) If we don't get more regular customers, the shop will close.

    Both could be used according to the explanation of the rules in your link, fivejedjon.

    Would you guys agree with me that:

    1) is used, if we have some kind of evidence, that the statement is going to come true? Yes, though that evidence may be only in our own minds.
    For example:"I've been crunching the numbers, and we are going to...." Here the evidence is more tangible.

    2) is used, if I want to emphasise the seriousness of the situation - like a threat or a promise, where will often is used?
    For example:"If we don't...... the shop will close, I promise/guarantee you! This could be the case; if so, "will" will probably be stressed.
    If "will" is unstressed, or realised as " 'll", the speaker is probably expressing certainty. This is what some writers have considered to be the neutral 'future tense' use of "will".
    5

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    #8

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    And also - a classic:

    1) I think it is going to / will rain.
    2) Look at the black clouds! I think it's going to / will rain.
    3) Do you think it is going to / will rain?

    Couldn't both choises i alle three examples be used, regardless of context, if going to indicates some kind of evidence for the statement to come true, and will basically indicates certainty? I either case you could argue that, if you have evidence (going to) then the statement will happen with certainty (will).

    And if we want to eliminate doubt in expressing that it is going to / will rain right now, we can always use be about to?

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    #9

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    Quote Originally Posted by tbentsen77 View Post
    1) I think it is going to / will rain.
    2) Look at the black clouds! I think it's going to / will rain.
    3) Do you think it is going to / will rain?
    In many cases, the difference is infinitisemal for practical purposes. This is one reason for my dislike of exercises requiring the students to 'Choose the correct way of expressing the future in these sentences'. Even with far more context than is usually provided, there are often two or more acceptable answers.

    And if we want to eliminate doubt in expressing that it is going to / will rain right now, we can always use be about to?
    'Be about to' is usually more imminent than will/going to, and so only works if we think 'right now' or 'in the imminent future'.

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    #10

    Re: Future - Will and going to

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    '
    Originally Posted by tbentsen77
    1) I think it is going to / will rain.
    2) Look at the black clouds! I think it's going to / will rain.
    3) Do you think it is going to / will rain?
    In many cases, the difference is infinitisemal for practical purposes. This is one reason for my dislike of exercises requiring the students to 'Choose the correct way of expressing the future in these sentences'. Even with far more context than is usually provided, there are often two or more acceptable answers.

    And if we want to eliminate doubt in expressing that it is going to / will rain right now, we can always use be about to?

    Be about to' is usually more imminent than will/going to, and so only works if we think 'right now' or 'in the imminent future'.
    I think, we agree! If you have any further comments on one or more of the three specific examples above, please let me know. Otherwise: Thanks for all your help!

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