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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Future use    

Future use

Thalia Gralik

Future use
Dear colleagues,
I wonder if you could help me with the use of the present continuous X going to for the future. I do need the explanation for advanced students.
Thanks in advance,
Thalia Gralik

14 Apr 2013      


D/ The future


There are many forms which express the future time :



 Meaning /Use

Accompanying expressions

1/  a)  will � �ll

Will not � won�t

b) Shall � shall not � shan�t

a) It will rain tomorrow.

b)  We shall fight and we shall win.



a) prediction

b) determination


Next week

Next year

After a few days

2/ The present continuous

 I am visiting my friend next week.

Future plan / programme


3/ be going to + verb

a) I am going to be a doctor when I grow up.

b) It is clowdy. It is going to rain.


a) Future intention

b) Future result of a present cause.


The future continuous ( will be + verb +ing)

 Tomorrow morning            I will be taking my exam.


An action in progress in the future


The future perfect    ( shall / will + have  +past participle )

By the end of May, we will have studied all the English lessons.

An action that at a given future time will be in the past or just finished.

By then

By that time     By the 24th of June

14 Apr 2013     


I would say most of the times you can express the same fact with both, BUT there is a difference:

1. going to is milder (I am going to visit Paris), it expresses an intention, a plan.

2. the present continuous is firmer  (I am visiting Paris). It means you have made arrangements or are really determined to do it.

When I explain this point in class, I give this example:

A friend phones and says "Why don �t we meet this evening?"

1. If you answer: "I can �t. I have an exam tomorrow. I am going to study this evening", your friend will probably insist.

2. If you answer: "I can �t. I �m staying at home this evening. I have an exam tomorrow", your friend will know he can �t insist.

Hope this helped.

14 Apr 2013     


we use present continuous to express a fixed arrangement in the near future.
we use going to  to express intentions for the future, what we are thinking of doing but have not yet arranged.
i.e we are going to visit England next summer.
     we are visiting England next week. (our travel plans are definite,we have bought tickets,booked hotels etc.)

14 Apr 2013     

Thalia Gralik

Dear colleagues,
Thanks very much for your help. It �s really nice to know we can count on you!!!!
Hugs from Brazil,

15 Apr 2013