Will vs. Going To

'Will' and 'going to' are mainly confused by learners since they talk about predictions and decisions. Learn more about them in this lesson.

"Will" vs. "Going To" in the English grammar

What Is Their Main Difference?

The main difference between 'will' and 'going to' is that 'will' talks about immediate decisions and 'going to' talks about prior plans.

Will

'Will' is a modal verb used to refer to the future. It is also used to talk about willingness, possibilities, etc. Take a look at the following examples:

I will look into your case.

He will be your lawyer.

Going to

'Going to' is a phrase that is paired with the auxiliary verb 'be:' be + going + to. It is used to talk about the past and the future. It is also used to express predictions and future events. Have a look:

I was going to talk to him about his behavior.

Here, we are referring to the past.

I am going to talk to him about his behavior.

Here, we are referring to the future.

Similarities

Making Predictions

We use 'will' and 'going to' to make predictions about the future:

It will be foggy tomorrow.

It is going to be foggy tomorrow.

However, there is a small difference between them.

Predictions without Evidence

We use 'will' to make predictions without any certain evidence. These predictions are only based on personal opinions and experiences. For example:

I think Hamilton will win the cup.

She insists that she will get accepted in university.

Predictions with Evidence

'Going to' is used to make predictions with evidence. These predictions are based on actual evidence that are available at the moment. For instance:

She has a gun, she is going to kill someone.

The clouds are so grey; it is going to rain.

Expressing Decisions

Expressing Immediate Decisions

We use 'will' to express decisions that are made at the moment of speaking about the future. Take a look:

I will have a cup of coffee.

I will come with you downstairs.

Expressing Prior Plans

'Going to' is used to talk about future actions or events that were planned in advance. Have a look:

I am going to meet my parents this weekend.

The meeting is going to be on Monday morning.

Differences

Talking about Facts

We use 'will' to talk about events that will happen in the future and their occurrence is a general fact. For instance:

The sun will rise tomorrow.

The pink moon will appear in April.

Talking about Upcoming Events

'Going to' is used to talk about future upcoming events in the future. These events may or may not happen. For example:

The dam is going to break soon.

The blackout is going to be finished in a couple of hours.

Negation and Question

Negation

We can create negative sentences with 'going to' and 'will.'
'Will' is a modal verb and therefore when creating a negative sentence, we simply add 'not' to 'will' as illustrated below:

  • WillWill notWon't

Here are some examples for the negation process:

I will quit my job. → I will not quit my job.

It will be cloudy tomorrow. → It won't be cloudy tomorrow.

To create a negative sentence with 'going to,' we simply add 'not' to the auxiliary verb 'be':

  • is going tois not going toisn't going to
  • are going toare not going toaren't going to
  • was going towas not going towasn't going to
  • were going towere not going toweren't going to

For instance:

He is going to buy a new car. → He is not going to buy a new car.

They are going to attend the party. → They are not going to attend the party.

Questions

'Will' and 'going to' can be used to make interrogative forms:

Will

We can make yes/no questions and wh- question with 'will.'

Yes/No Questions

To make yes/no questions. we put 'will' at the beginning of the sentence followed by subject and the main verb. Have a look:

She will be there on my behalf. → Will she be there on my behalf?

You will redo this project. → Will you redo this project?

Wh- Questions

To create wh-questions, we begin with a wh-word such as what, when, where, who, why, and how followed by a 'will,' the subject, and the base form of the main verb. Look at these examples to see this process in action:

You will meet them on Thursday. → When will you meet them?

Harry will tell her about the chamber. → Who will tell her about the chamber.

Going to

We have the same two ways to make questions with 'going to.'

Yes/No Questions

We make yes/no questions, we put the verb 'to be' at the beginning of the sentence, the subject, and the rest of the sentence. For example:

You are going to take your friend to the zoo. → Are you going to take your friend to the zoo?

He is going to visit his parents. → Is he going to visit his parents?

Wh- Questions

To make wh- question, we start the question with the wh-word, then the verb 'to be,' the subject, 'going to,' and the rest of the sentence. For example:

He is going to visit a doctor. → Who is he going to visit?

They are going to eat at a restaurant. → Where are they going to eat?

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