Talking about the future

In English, we mainly use two different structures to talk about the future: the forms with will and the forms with going to.

The forms with will are mainly used to make simple predictions about the future.

  • I will apply for that job.
  • I will make you a sandwich if you are hungry.

The structure with going to is mainly used to talk about our intentions.

  • She is going to study Law.
  • I am not going to buy that home.
  • I am not going to spend $600 on that coat.

This form is also used to talk about pre-planned future events.


The present continuous and going to can both be used to talk about planned future events. The present continuous is used to talk about the immediate future. Going to, on the other hand, is used to talk about things that we intent to do in the distant future.

Going to is also used to make future predictions if there is visual evidence.

  • Sandra is going to have another baby in May. (There is future evidence.)
  • Look at the sky. It is going to rain.

Present Continuous (be ‘-ing’)

The present continuous tense is mainly used to talk about personally scheduled future events. It is not used to talk about our distant future intentions.

  • I am seeing your Dad tomorrow.
  • We are having chicken soup for dinner.

As you can see, these are all pre-planned events going to take place in the immediate future.

Simple Present

The simple present tense is used to talk about scheduled public events. For example, we can use this tense form to talk about train schedules and course schedules.

  • The train arrives at 6.30 pm.
  • The classes begin at 9.30.