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'?

While 'be + going to' is more commonly used to talk about the future in English, it can also be used to express intentions or plans in the past. Specifically, it is used to talk about what you intended to do in the past.


The sentence pattern using 'be going to' for the past tense is:
subject + was/were + going to + base form of the verb


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 when suddenly I heard her crying.

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

Be Going to: Uses

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

  1. Predictions
  2. Plans and Arrangements


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' 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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