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good afternoon,

Can a teacher explain the difference between will and going to, please? It´s so confusing!
Thanx a lot,


Aug 25, 2007
Member Type
English Teacher
You can use these separately as in:

I will go to the store. (future perfect)


I am going to the store. (present continuous)

or together as in:

I will be going to the store. (future continuous) ;-)


Key Member
Sep 13, 2007
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Student or Learner
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Hi Grayce,

Talking about future actions.

We use both will and going to to talk about our future actions, but there is a clear difference.

Study this example situation:

Helen's bicycle has a flat tire. She tells her father.

Helen: "My bicycle has a flat tire. Can you fix it?"
Father: "Okay, but I can't do it now. I'll fix it tomorrow."

will: We use "will" when we decide to do something at the time of speaking. The speaker has not decided before. before Helen told her father, he didn't know about the flat tire.

Later Helen's mother speaks to her husband.

Mother: "Can you fix Helen's bicycle? It has a flat tire."
Father: "Yes, I know. She told me. I'm going to fix it tomorrow."

going to: We use "going to" when we have already decided to dddo something. Helen's father had already decided to fix the bicycle before his wife spoke to him.

Here is another example:

Tom is cooking when he suddenly discovered that there isn't any salt:

Tom: "Ann, we don't have any salt."
Ann: "Oh, we don't? I will get some from the store." (she decided at the time of speaking)

Before going out, Ann says to Jim:
Ann: "I'm going to get some salt from the store.(she has already decided )
"Can I get you anything, Jim?"

Saying what will happen (predicting future happenings)

We use both will and going to to say what we think will happen in the future.

"Do you think Laura will get will get the job?"

"Oh no! It's already 4:00. We are going to be late."

We use "going to" (not "will") when there is something in the present situation that shows what happen before in the future (especially the near future). The speaker feels sure about what will happen because of the situation now.

"Look at those black clouds. It's going to rain."

"I feel terrible. I think I'm going to be sick."

Going to also has another meaning. Study this example situation:

The man can't see where he is going. There is a hole in front of him.

"He is going to fall into the hole."

Here the speaker is saying what he thinks will happen. Of course he doesn't mean that the man intends to fall into the hole.

We use going to in this way when we say what will happen. Usually there is something in the present situation (the man walked towards the hole) that makes the speaker sure about what will happen.

Do not use will in situations like these.

In other situations, use will.

"Sue will probably arrive at about 9 o'clock."

"I think George will like the present you bought for him."

We often use will with these words and expressions:

probably "I'll probably be a little late this evening."
(I'm) sure "You must meet Ann . I'm sure you will like her."
(I) bet "I bet Carol will get the job."
(I) think "Do you think we'll win the match?"
(I) suppose "I suppose we'll see John at the party."
(I) guess "I guess I'll see you next week."


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