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Home Grammar Tenses Contrasting Future Forms: "Be Going To" VS "Will"

October 01, 2011

Contrasting Future Forms: "Be Going To" VS "Will"

Can you tell the difference between the sentences on the left and those on the right?
The sky is dark. I think it's going to rain soon.Don't worry. It will rain someday.
There are signs of recovery. He's going to get well soon.There is no sign of recovery. But I'm sure he will recover.
Workers are preparing their equipment. They are going to repair the building.If you overload it, the machine will break down.

There are several different verb-forms that can be used to talk about the future. The most common structures are be going to structure, will, and the present continuous / present progressive.

Those three structures often have different meanings which are sometimes difficult to tell. Therefore, it is not always easy to choose the correct form. In this post, we are going to talk about the difference between the be going to structure and will by contrasting how they are used.

Contrasting Future "Be Going To" With "Will"
Be Going To Verb 1Will Infinitive
Planned intentions
To express a planned intention, or a plan with an intention. The plan is made before the moment of speaking and some preparations may have been made.
Untuk mengungkapkan maksud terencana, atau rencana yang disengaja. Rencana tersebut dibuat sebelum saat berbicara dan mungkin sudah dilakukan persiapan untuk itu.
  • Workers are preparing their equipment. They are going to repair the building.
  • He has bought building materials. I think he's going to renovate his house.
When it is not known whether the intention has been planned or not, either be going to or will may be used.
Jika tidak diketahui apakah sesuatu maksud direncanakan atau tidak, baik "be going to" atau "will" bisa digunakan.
Unplanned intentions
To express an unplanned intention. The intention or decision to do something is made right at the moment of speaking, usually with no preparation.
Untuk mengungkapkan maksud tak terencana. Maksud atau keputusan untuk melakukan sesuatu dibuat tepat pada saat berbicara dan biasanya tanpa ada persiapan.
  • There's the doorbell. I'll open the door.
  • Have you heard from her? ~ No, not yet. I'll call her now.
Using will infinitive is the best way to express a strong determination.
Menggunakan "will infinitive" adalah cara terbaik untuk mengungkapkan kebulatan tekad.
  • Okay. I will help you. (with stress on "will")
  • We will make it!
3rd and 2nd person's intentions
To express or ask about an intention made by the second person (you), or the third (he, she, it, they). The negative form shows that there is no intention.
Untuk mengungkapkan atau menanyakan maksud orang kedua (you), atau ketiga (he, she, it, they). Bentuk negatif menunjukkan tidak adanya niat untuk melakukan sesuatu.
  • Are you going to renovate the room?
  • He isn't going to stay here.
1st person's intentions
Will is almost always used to express first person's intentions. However, the negative form may be used for all persons, and usually means "to refuse to do something".
Bentuk will hampir selalu digunakan untuk orang pertama. Tetapi, bentuk negative bisa digunakan untuk semua orang dan biasanya bermakna "menolak melakukan sesuatu".
  • I will leave now!
  • He won't stay here. (He refuses to stay.)
Near future
To indicate near future events / actions.
Untuk menyebutkan peristiwa / kegiatan yang akan terjadi dalam waktu dekat.
  • The sky is dark. I think it's going to rain soon.
  • Where's today's paper? I'm going to read it.
Near and Remote future
To indicate near or remote future events / actions.
Untuk menyebutkan peristiwa / kegiatan yang akan terjadi baik dalam waktu dekat maupun masih lama.
  • The local government will build more schools in rural areas.
  • It's a nice place. We will enjoy staying here.
To express assumptions when there is a sign or symptom that something is certainly going to happen in the near or remote future.
Untuk mengungkapkan asumsi / dugaan jika ada tanda atau gejala bahwa sesuatu pasti akan terjadi dalam waktu dekat atau relatif lama.
  • The sky is dark. I think it's going to rain soon.
  • There are signs of recovery. He's going to get well soon.
To express assumptions, expectations, belief, or doubt that something will happen in the future.
Untuk mengungkapkan asumsi / dugaan, harapan, keyakinan, atau keraguan bahwa sesuatu akan terjadi dalam waktu yang akan datang.
  • Don't forget your coat. It'll probably be cold up there. (I expect it will be cold.)
  • Onions will be expensive when harvests fail.
Contrasting Future Forms: Be Going To VS Will
Put the verbs into future "be going to" or "will infinitive".
  1. Why are you moving the sofa? ~ I (repaint) this room.
  2. The printer doesn't work again. ~ Really? I (call) the technician. I hope he's not busy.
  3. How do we get to the museum from here? ~ I don't know, but I (ask) the policeman over there.
  4. You (lend) me your dictionary, please? I need it. ~ Yes, certainly. Here it is.
  5. You (buy) a new computer? ~ No, this one is still good.
  6. My car is being repaired. You (give) me a lift?
  7. Where's the flashlight? ~ It's in the drawer. What you (do) with it? ~ I (search) the warehouse. It's dark in there.
  8. What a beautiful painting. Where you (put) it?
  9. This curtain is very dirty. ~ Very well. I (have) it washed.
  10. You (play) games all night? You are going to school tomorrow.
  1. Azar B.S. Understanding and Using English Grammar (2nd Ed). NJ: Prentice-Hall. Inc, 1989.
  2. Thomson & Martinet. A Practical English Grammar (4th Ed). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
  3. Swan, M. Practical English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980.
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