Future Simple vs. Going To

There are similarities and differences between future simple and going to, which might cause confusion.

What is Their Main Difference?

While both tenses talk about the future, they have their differences. 'Going to' is used when we refer to a premade plan, while, future simple is used to refer to a spontaneous decision.

Uses and Comparison

1. Prediction

Have you ever visited an oracle or watched a weather forecast? We use both tenses to predict what is to come or make a guess.

Someone new will step into your life.

Someone new is going to step into your life.

It will rain tomorrow.

It is going to rain tomorrow.

2. Planned Situations

Let us say that we have already set out a decent plan for the weekend, and our mind is already made up. In order to talk about the said plan, we can use 'going to.' Have a look:

I am going to visit my parents.

Here, we can tell that the decision was premade.

I will visit my parents.

He is going to take us for a walk.

Here, we can see that this is a decision made a long time ago.

He will take us for a walk.

3. Spontaneous Decision

Future simple tense can be used in situations where we have no previously made-up plan, and we are making a decision on the spot while speaking.

I will study as soon as I get home.

Here, we can clearly see that we are talking about a sudden decision.

I am going to study as soon as I get home.

Here, we cannot see any sign of quick decision making.

I will convince Nina.

Here, we can clearly see that we are talking about a decision made on the spot.

I am going to convince Nina.

Here, we cannot see any sign of a sudden decision being made.

4. Near Future

'Going to' tends to talk about events that are about to happen in near future or even just started to happen.

She is going to break one of these days.

Here, we are referring to a very near future.

She will break one of these days.

Here we do not see any reference to the near future.

It is going to rain soon.

Here, we are referring to the near future which can be at any given moment.

It will rain soon.

Here we do not see any reference to the near future.

5. Requests

Future simple tense is also used to make an offer or request. In this case, we use it in the interrogative form.

Will you give me a hand?

Here, the speaker is asking for help.

Are you going to give me a hand?

This sentence gives off a rude sense rather than requesting.

Will you close the door?

Here, we can clearly see that the speaker is requesting.

Are you going to close the door?

This sentence sounds like a rude statement rather than a polite request.

6. Giving Orders

'Going to' is in some informal cases used to give an order. However, do note that this is very informal, and it is commonly considered a rude gesture.

You are going to turn your assignment in today.

Here we are giving an order to another person.

You will turn your assignment in today.

This sentence fails to show that this sentence is an order.

You are going to do your homework right now.

Here, we can clearly see that an order is given.

You will do your homework right now.

We cannot sense any order being given in this sentence.

Structure

Now that we compared the two tenses and learned their uses individually, we will tackle one last frequently asked question about these tenses before we depart. You may struggle with structure, but you will find creating these tenses very simple once you learn it.

1. Future Simple Tense

We tend to follow a certain pattern when it comes to this tense. We add 'will' to the subject at the beginning of the sentence, then the base form of the main verb. Have a look:

I will talk to her after lunch.

He will call them soon.

2. Going to

In order to create a future tense with the help of going to we follow this pattern:

subject + am/is/are + going to + base form of verb

He is going to study all night.

We are going to help him move out.

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