Differences between Will and Going to (English)

Will and Going to- are verbal expressions in the future of the English language, which are used when talking about future intentions or future plans. Both expressions are commonly used in the English-speaking world and although their similarity lies in the fact that both are used to indicate something in the future tense, they are expressions with different uses, which are described below in this article.


The -will- is an auxiliary modal verb that in English is used in combination with the infinitive of non-modal verbs to express the future. It is a non-variable verb, that is, it does not change with the different persons of the conjugation. It has a contracted form (‘ll) when combined with a subject, which is used in less formal written texts and in spoken English.

In the negative mood, the word combination of will + not is used, which can also be contracted as won’t in spoken and informal written English. Will is used to predict the future or when there is an intention to do something but has not been decided and also in the following expressions:

  1. a) To express a prediction: One day I will have a beautiful house in the country.
  2. b) To give orders or make formal requests: You will start work at seven o’clock.
  3. c) To express threats and promises: He’ll pay for what he did (He will pay for what he did).
  4. d) To express decisions made when speaking: I don’t know where Mary is. I’ll call her mobile now (I don’t know where Mary is, I’ll call her mobile now).

All these possibilities are offered by this auxiliary modal verb, however, its most frequent use is to express decisions that are made when speaking.

Going to

The -going to- is a tense that is used in English to talk about the future and is translated by -going to do something-. In affirmative sentences it is formed with the following structure: subject + verb to be (conjugated in the present) + going to + verb. In negative sentences it is formed with subject + verb to be (in the negative and conjugated in the present) + going to + verb. In the case of interrogative sentences, it is formed with the formula verb to be (conjugated in the present) + subject + going to + verb. In addition, it is used in the following cases:

  1. a) To express decisions made previously, plans or future intentions: Tomorrow I’m going to visit my aunt (tomorrow I’m going to visit my aunt).
  2. b) When you know that something is going to happen because it is very obvious, that is, to express predictions based on what you see: Look at the sky, it’s going to rain.

Similarly, it is worth noting that the phrase going to contracts into –gonna- in informal spoken language.

Once the words that concern this article have been described, the following differences between them are pointed out:

Will Going to
It is used to express decisions that are made when speaking and in some other circumstances. It is mainly used to talk about plans and intentions or to make predictions based on current evidence.
The contraction -´ll- is used in both informal spoken and written language. The contraction -gonna- is only used in informal spoken language, it should never be written that way.
Will expresses a possibility of doing something in the future. Going to expresses the certainty of doing something in the future.

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