Be Going To vs. Will for the Future Tense: What’s the Difference?

Robot:                What are you going to do today?
Astronaut:        I‘m going to visit the sun.
Robot:                But it’s too hot! You’ll burn up!
Astronaut:        I’ll be fine. I’m going to go at night.

This silly conversation shows how will and be going to are often used together when speaking about the future. What’s the difference between be going to and will? It all depends on the situation.

will-vs-be-going-to-for-future-tense
Never argue about grammar with a robot!

In the conversation, the robot asks the astronaut about his plans using be going to. When the robot tells him, “You’ll burn up,” that is a fact, not a plan, so he uses will. Again, when the astronaut replies, “I’ll be fine,” he is making a promise. The astronaut has a plan: “I’m going to go there at night.” It’s not a very smart plan, but it’s a plan, so he uses be going to.

I hope he wears a lot of sunscreen.

Let’s look at some other uses of be going to and will that depend on the situation.

BE GOING TO

PLANS AND ARRANGEMENTS

Use be going to for things that you already have planned.

  • I‘m going to finish the report this evening.
  • We‘re going to rent a car for the weekend.
  • They‘re going to build a new shopping center here.
  • Ford is going to close several car dealerships next year.
  • Are you going to be late for the meeting?

It’s also good to begin a speaking presentation with, “Today, I’m going to talk about…” Here are some more tips and tricks to giving a great presentation in English.

PREDICTIONS & THE WEATHER

The weather is a prediction for the future, so both forms can be used. Notice that certain expressions are used when we talk about the weather.

  • It looks like it’s going to rain today.
  • I hope the roads won’t be foggy.
  • Do you think it’ll be sunny at the beach?

For all other predictions, be going to and will can both be used, depending on how sure you are about it. The more certain you are, the more you should use be going to.

  • The Giants are definitely going to win the game.
  • My mom is going to love the gift I bought her!
  • Scientists will find a cure for cancer one day.
  • In the next 500 years, what will happen to the climate on Earth?

WILL

INSTANT DECISIONS & CHANGING PLANS

  • The restaurant is closing soon, so I’ll order take out.
  • Your phone battery is dead? I’ll send you an email.
  • There’s a huge traffic jam? I’ll take the metro instead.

PROMISES & THREATS

  • I won’t tell anyone your secret.
  • If you come to work late again, you’ll get fired.
  • I will always be your friend.
  • Will you marry me?

OFFERS

  • The phone’s ringing : I’ll get it.
  • My car’s not working : I’ll give you a ride.
  • I need a few dollars for the bus : I’ll lend you some.
  • The employees should bring something to the meeting : I’ll bring the coffee.

NEGOTIATIONS

  • If you wash the dishes, I’ll set the table
  • If you pay half now, I’ll lower the price.
  • If you buy one, I’ll give you one for free!

Let’s look at some other situations where will and be going to can be used.

At a Restaurant

In the following video, you can see that the customers and server are both using will again and again. That’s because they are making decisions in the moment. When the server says, “I’ll be right back,” she uses will because she is making a promise, not a plan.

A Weather Forecast

Here, you can see how will and be going to are both used to talk about the weather.

Be Going To for Predictions in the Very Near Future

 

Thank you for reading my bog! Now, I’m going to stop writing and watch Grey’s Anatomy, my favorite TV show. (plan) You never know what will happen! (prediction)

See you in the future!

 

Go, Do, or Play? Verbs for Sports and Activities

GO, PLAY, and DO are all used for sports and activities, but choosing the right verb takes practice.

What are your favorite sports and activities? I love yoga, surfing, and volleyball. But if I want to talk about these activities, I need THREE different verbs! How to choose? Read on to find out.

Most water activities use GO + ING
These kids can’t wait to GO swimmING!

GO + Verb + ING

GO is typically used for individual activities (only one person is needed), and GO always comes before an ING verb.

  • go running, go jogging, go walking, go skydiving, go hiking in the mountains, go cycling, go camping, go shopping (it’s a sport, right?)

GO is also used with most water sports.

  • go swimming, go diving, go snorkeling, go fishing, go jet skiing, go sailing
Martial arts and strengthening exercises use DO
Do you DO yoga? She does!

DO

DO is used for exercises, workouts, and martial arts.

  • do Pilates, do karate, do jiu jitsu, do Zumba, do aerobics
  • do sit-ups, do push-ups, do squats, do burpees, do stretches, do planks (OUCH!!)
PLAY is used for team sports.
What sport do you think they PLAY?

PLAY

PLAY is used for team sports, major league sports, games, and musical instruments.

  • play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, play ping pong, play golf
  • play poker, play Monopoly, play chess, play guitar, play piano

So did you figure out which verbs to use with my favorite activities?

I like to _________________ yoga, __________________surfing, and _________________volleyball.

If you think you know the answers, comment below! Ready, set, GO!!!

 

 

In, On, or At? How To Use Prepositions for Transportation, Location, Time, and Technology

English students sometimes feel lost when using the prepositions in, on, and at.

Luckily, there are a few rules you can follow. Prepositions can be learned by topic. Topics can include transportation, location, time and date, and technology. Let’s look at some topics to get you back on the map!

cologne-central-station-railway-station-train-163580.jpegTransportation

For transportation, remember the following guidelines:

IN

Use IN for private transportation.

  • in a car, in a truck, in a taxi, in an Uber, or in a small boat, canoe, or kayak

ON

For public transportation, use ON.

  • on the bus, on a plane, on a ship or cruise, on a train, on the subway, on the trolley

Use ON for things that one person can sit or stand on to ride.

  •  on a bicycle, on a motorcycle, on a horse, on a surfboard, skateboard, or segway! 🙂

AT

Use AT for places where you wait for transport.

  • at the bus stop, at the taxi stand, at the airport, at the train station

pexels-photo.jpgLocations

IN

Think of IN for enclosed spaces and places with borders, like rooms, towns, cities, counties, states, countries, and continents.

  • in the kitchen, in San Diego, in California, in the U.S., in North America, in Europe

Use IN for geographical locations and bodies of water, if you’re swimming!

  • in the mountains, in the forest, in the desert, in the water, in the lake, in the ocean

ON

Use ON for street names, borders, and floors of buildings.

  • on Broadway, on the Mexican border, on the first floor, on 10th Ave.

Use ON for surfaces.

  • on the ground, on the floor, on the wall, on the beach (if you’re tanning!)

AT

Use AT for specific locations, places of business, and stores.

  • at the supermarket, at the beach, at the library
  • at the zoo, at the restaurant, at the mall, at McDonalds, at the hospital

pexels-photo-908298.jpegTimes and Dates

IN

Use IN for enclosed time periods.

  • in December, in the summer, in 1997

ON

Use ON for specific days, dates, and holidays.

  • on Monday, on weekends, on January 22
  • on my birthday, on Christmas, on vacation

AT

Use AT for times of the day.

  • at 6:00pm, at midnight (12:00am), at lunchtime (12pm)
  • at night (but in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening)

pexels-photo-607812.jpegMedia and Technology

IN

Use IN for paper media.

  • in a book, in a newspaper, in a magazine, in a journal

ON

Use ON for electronic media and technology.

  • on the internet, on tv, on the radio, on the phone
  • on social media, on facebook, instagram, whatsapp, etc.

AT

Use AT or the @ symbol for websites, url’s, emails, and web addresses only.

You can learn more about advanced preposition use here.

 

Do You or Are You? Choosing the Correct Verb When Asking Questions in the Present Tense

Students often confuse the verbs to do and to be when asking questions. What’s the difference between Do you…? and Are you…?

Here is a quick guide on how to choose the right verb, right away.

First, let’s study TO DO.

When you want to ask about an action in the present, use do or does.

DO/DOES + Subject + Verb (S. Present) + Object

Examples:

  • Do you like to travel?
  • Where do they want to go?
  • Does the store sell office furniture?
  • What does he need to buy?

And that’s it! Any time you want to ask about a verb in the simple present, use does for he/she/it and do for all other subjects.

Now, let’s look at the verb TO BE.

AM/IS/ARE + Subject + Noun

The be verb has more abilities than the do verb.

Use be with nouns.

Example:

  • Are you a studentAre you in CaliforniaAre you a good cook?
  • Is he the boss?
  • Am I in your class?

AM/IS/ARE + Subject + Adjective

Use be with an adjective.

Example:

  • Are you hungryAre you comfortable at your desk? Are you interested in science fiction movies?
  • Is she sick today?
  • Amlate for your appointment?

AM/IS/ARE + Subject+ Verb+ING (Present Continuous)

Finally, use the be verb before a verb in the continuous form (ING).

Example:

  • Are you listening to the presentation?
  • Is he working late tonight?
  • Are they bringing any snacks to the meeting?
  • Is your phone battery charging right now?

So there you have it. I hope you find this information useful. Now try asking some questions with Do you…? and Are you…and see how it works for you!

 

 

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