WILL / (BE) GOING TO / (BE) -ING

I will study! I’m going to study! I’m studying tonight!
What’s the difference? Let’s find out!

WILL

Immediate Decisions
  • It’s 11pm. I think I’ll go to bed now.
  • I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.
Prediction based on personal opinions or experiences
  • I think my sister will win the race.  
  • She probably won’t pass her English test.
Future Fact
  • The sun will rise at 6am tomorrow morning.
  • The restaurant will close at 10pm.
Offers / promises
  • I’ll help you with your homework.
  • I won’t tell anyone your secret.

(BE) GOING TO

Prior Plans
  • I’m going to visit South Korea next week. I’ve already bought my ticket.
  • We’re going to Din Tai Fung tonight. I’ve called and reserved a table.
Prediction based on facts or evidence
  • Look at those dark clouds! It’s going to rain.
  • It’s 35 degrees out today!  It definitely isn’t going to snow.
Something that is about to happen
  • Run away! The tiger is going to attack!
  • Be careful! You’re going to fall.

(BE) -ING

Happening now
  • I’m studying English now. 
  • I’m walking to work now. 
Future arrangements (a plan you have thought about or discussed with someone else)
  • I’m meeting my friend tonight.
  • I’m visiting my grandparents on Saturday. 
BEWARE! Some words do not use ING!
    • I’m going to be happy tomorrow. 
    • I’ll be happy tomorrow.
    • I’m being happy tomorrow. Don’t use “ing” with state verbs

Learn More about State Verbs here.
Download a PDF of this lesson here.
Download a practice worksheet here.

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