Home - One World of English
Home
YouTube Exercises :
English Grammar
English Vocabulary
Listening Comprehension
Dictations
Business English
Reference :
English Grammar
Phrasal Verbs
Idioms
About Us
Contact us
English Schools
Learn Italian
 

English Grammar Reference:
The Future - Differences between going to, present continuous and will

Basically we use to be going to when we intend to do something, we are probably going to do it but we have not confirmed it 100%.

|____________|__________|_____________|__________|
Past

|________Present_________ |
to be going to
present continuous (when we are sure)

Future

I'm going to watch the match tonight.
I'm going to meet my friends tomorrow.

I'm going to eat pizza tonight.
If I now call the pizzeria to book a table for two for 8 o'clock this evening I can say:
I'm eating pizza this evening. (Because I'm sure)

I'm going to fly to Brazil next month.
If I now buy my tickets, I can say:
I'm flying to Brazil next month. (Because I'm sure)

Note that if I say:

I'm going to fly to Brazil next month after I buy the tickets, it's ok.

To be going to is always correct when we talk about a plan even if it's sure. The present continuous is correct when we talk about a plan. Will is only correct when we talk about a plan if we say "I think..." or "maybe" or something similar.

We use will when we decide something now.

Who would like to come to the cinema?

I'll come.

I hadn't thought about it before so it is not a plan. I decide at the same time as I speak.

|______________________|____________ |__________|
Past
Present
|
Future
 
  |____________|
 
            will
 

So we use will when we decide at that moment to do something.
You go into a cafe and your friend says:

What would you like to drink?

I'll have a coke, please.

|______________________|____________ |__________|
Past
Present
|
Future
 
  |____________|
decide to have a coke
 

You didn't think about it before you went into the cafe, you decided when your friend asked you. So it wasn't a plan and so you use will.