Past with 'Going to' in English Grammar

Past with 'Going to'

There are times that we are narrating a story and we want to talk about past plans that did not happen. In this case, we use past with going to.

Past with 'Going to' in English Grammar

What Is Past with 'Going to'?

It is typically more common to use 'be + going to' to talk about the future in the English language, but it is also one of the ways to talk about the past. It is better to say, using 'be going to' is one of the ways to talk about what you intended to do in the past.

Structure

The sentence pattern using 'be going to' for past tense is:
subject + was/were + going to + infinitive verb

Tip!

Usually, you use be going to to refer to a plan or prediction that did not happen.

Note that when you are talking about the event that did not happen, you usually mention the reason. For example:

I was going to study for an hour, but I fell asleep.

I was going to the bank that suddenly I heard her crying.

Be Going to: Uses

Using 'Going to' to Talk about Plans in the Past

Predictions and Expectations

We use be going to in the past tense to refer to events that we expected or predicted to happen at some point in the past. Here are the examples:

He was going to study.

The speaker in this example means he did not study, but he had planned to.

We were going to leave.

The speakers in this example mean they did not leave, but they had intended to.

Plans and Arrangements

We can use 'be going to' in the past tense to talk about what we planned to be done in the past, but mostly they did not happen. Check out the examples!

She was going to give her speech, but the earthquake happened.

I was going to Rome last summer.

Be Going to: Passive Voice

Here is the sentence pattern for 'be going to' in the passive voice:

  • Indicative sentence: object + was/were + going to + be + past participle
  • Interrogative sentence: Was/Were + object + going to + be + past participle

These are the examples of active and passive voice with 'be going to.'

Mom was going to make a birthday cake for Brian. → Active

A birthday cake was going to be made for Brian (by Mom). → Passive Indicative

Was a birthday cake going to be made for Brian (by Mom)? → Passive Interrogative

Review

'Be going to' can be used to talk about events that were supposed to happen. However, you cannot decide whether they happened or not unless there is background information.
'Be going to' is used to express past:

  1. Predictions and expectations
  2. Plans and arrangements

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