Future with 'Going to' in English Grammar

Future with 'Going to'

Anything after now is the future, and in English, we have many ways and tenses to talk about the future. Some are more basic and some are more advanced.

Future with 'Going to' in English Grammar

What Is 'Future with Going to'?

A common way to talk about the future in English is by using 'be going to'. Some argue that 'going to' is not a tense. It's just a phrase, an expression that we use to talk about plans and predictions in the future or in the past.

Future with 'going to': Structure

To construct the future tense with 'going to' use be going to + the base form of the verb.
Let us take a look at examples:

She is going to visit her parents next weekend.

Remember, 'visit' is the base form (infinitive without to).

I'm going to take my son to the zoo.

Future with 'going to': Negation

To make a negative sentence use 'subject pronoun + the verb "be" + "not going to" and the base form of the verb.
Here are the examples:

It's going to rain. → It's not going to rain.

They are going to the party. → They aren't going to the party.

Future with 'going to': Questions

To make yes/no questions, you have to put the verb 'to be' at the beginning, followed by the subject, going to and the rest of the sentence. Take a look at this example:

He's going to buy a new car. → Is he going to buy a new car?

To make wh- questions, you need wh- question words first. These words come at the beginning of the question right before the verb 'to be', the subject, 'going to', and the rest of the sentence. Take a look at the following example:

He's going to eat dinner at a restaurant. → Where is he going to eat dinner?

Future with 'going to': Uses

Using Future with 'Going to' to Talk about Plans

'Be going to' is commonly used in informal situations. It has different uses:

Talking about Planned Situations

If we know that we're going to do something tomorrow, this weekend, next month, next year, etc. in advance, we have two options of how to communicate that:

  1. using going to
  2. using present continuous tense

We use 'be going to' to talk about our future plans. Often we have already made up our minds about that plan and we are pretty certain that plan would happen.
Here are the examples:

I'm going to find a new job next month.

Here, you are pretty certain that you are going to find a job next month.

We need potatoes to make dinner. I'm going to buy some.

Here you already made up your mind.

Sometimes the decision is not made by you, yourself. Sometimes by using be going to we refer to other's intentions. For example, those that are in charge, or an authority's intention. Check out the examples for more clarification.

The government is going to talk about the global warming.

Our boss is going to fire him tomorrow.

Talking about Predicting the Future

'Be going to' is used to predict something in the future that we know will happen for sure.
In these examples, it is clear that the structure is used to predict the future:

The sky is getting darker. It's going to snow.

Here the speaker is predicting something in future based on what he sees.

It's 3-0. They are going to lose!

It is obvious that they are going to loose for sure.

Giving Orders

In some informal situations, we can use 'be going to' to give orders to somebody (usually to a person younger than us) and say that something needs to be done.
Check out this example:

You're going to do your homework right now. You have an exam tomorrow!

here in this example the person is saying: do your homework right now.

'Be Going to' with Other Tenses

We can use 'be going to' in other tenses as well, for example:

I was going to ask her out but I decided not to.

He'd been going to fix the car for ages.

Near Future

We can also use the expression 'be going to' to talk about events that are about to happen in near future or just started to happen. For example:

Look at the papers, she is definitely going to give exams.

The sky is getting dark. We are not going to stay in the woods.

Informal Form of Going to: Gonna

In spoken English and in informal situations, native speakers use 'gonna' instead of going to. Remember that it is not correct to use it in written form and formal situations.
Here there is an example:

This is gonna be a good day!

Remember 'gonna' is the contracted form of 'going to,' so you must use 'infinitive without to' after that.

Review

Besides using the auxiliary 'will' you can use 'to be going to' to talk about future plans and predictions. Whenever we use 'to be going to' for plans they are fixed and we are sure that they are going to happen.

Structure, Contraction, Affirmative, Negative, informal, and Question Forms

Structure subject + am/is/are + going to + base form of verb
affirmative He is going to start a choir class.
negative He is not going to start a choir class.
contraction He's not going to start a choir class./ He isn't going to start a choir class.
informal He is gonna start a choir class.
yes/no question Is he going to start a choir class?
-wh question What is he going to do ?

When to Use 'to Be Going to'?

  1. To talk about planned situations
  2. To talk about predicting the future
  3. To give orders

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