What are you going to do?

Monday, September 5, 2011

You were probably taught that will indicates the future tense in English but that’s really not true in most cases. Surprising, isn’t it? We often use the present continuous form or 'going to' when talking about future events when a plan or intention exists, or when you have evidence of something.

It’s Sunday night. What are your plans for Monday? ---> I’m working on Monday (the plan).

You won the lottery. What are you going to do with the money? ---> I’m going to buy a yacht (your intention).

The sky is grey and dark. What’s the weather? ---> It’s going to rain (prediction based on evidence).

So, when is will used?

  • When you have no plan before speaking, a spontaneous comment:
  • I need a ride because my car is at the mechanic. --- > I’ll drive you (a spontaneous offer-no plan).

  • For a prediction (without any evidence):
  • The fortune teller said I will meet a tall, dark stranger (their prediction based on no evidence).

  • With the verb BE:
  • The verb be is an exception with will. Even when we have a very firm plan, and we are not speaking spontaneously, we can use will with be.

    I will be late for the party.

    Angelo will be in London tomorrow.

    Katia will be in Egypt for five days.

    Will isn’t used as often as you think it is.

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