A. Future actions
Study the difference between will and going to:
Sue is talking to Helen:
SUE: Let’s have a party
HELLEN: That’s a great idea. We’ll invite lots of people.
will (‘ll): We use will when we decide to do something at the time of speaking. The speaker has not decided before. The party is a new idea.
Later that day, Helen meets Dave:
HELLEN: Sue and I have decided to have a party. We’re going to invite lots of people.
going to: We use (be) going to when we have already decided to do something. Helen had already decided to Invite lots of people before she spoke to Dave.
* ‘George phoned while you were out.’ ‘OK. I’ll phone him back.’
but * ‘George phoned while you were out.’ ‘Yes, I know. I’m going to phone him back.’
* ‘Ann is in hospital.’ ‘Oh really? I didn’t know. I’ll go
and visit her.’
but * ‘Ann is in hospital.’ ‘Yes, I know. I’m going to visit her tomorrow.’
B. Future happenings and situations (predicting the future)
Sometimes there is not much difference between will and going to. For example, you can say:
* I think the weather will be nice later.
* I think the weather is going to be nice later.
When we say ‘something is going to happen’, we know (or think) this because of the situation now. For example:
* Look at those black clouds. It’s going to rain. (not ‘it will rain’ – we can see the clouds now)
* I feel terrible. I think I’m going to be sick. (not ‘I think I’ll be sick’ – I feel terrible now)
Do not use will in situations like these. (See also Unit 20C.)
In other situations, it is safer to use will:
* Tom will probably arrive at about 8 o’clock.
* I think Ann will like the present we bought for her.