Will vs Going to

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girl point on notes

Are you confused about the difference between "will" and "going to" in English? If so, you’re not alone. Many learners find it difficult to understand the differences between these two words. In this reference, we’ll take a look at when to use "will vs going to" and how to remember the differences.

The difference between Will and Going To

Both phrases are used for future events, but there is a difference between them in terms of intention, planning, and certainty. 

WillExampleBe going toExample
Will is usually used for future events that haven't been planned before. It reflects spontaneous decisions.I forgot to drink my glass of water. I will take one after dinner.The construction “be going to” reflects the decisions that have been planned before.I am going to get a glass of water. I have to drink water every 3 hours.
Used for predictions based on personal feelings without necessary evidence.I think it will rain tomorrow.Used for predictions based on real evidence or signs that point directly to a future event.Look at those clouds! It is going to rain.
Sometimes used to express a strong certainty.I will be there for you.Conveys a sense of plan in progress or an event that should happen because of the circumstances.I am going to stay with you tonight.

In different regions you may find out that locals use these two phrases differently, ignoring some rules. It might be based on regional differences or even personal preferences. However, we recommend to follow the general rules. Firstly, you will clearly send the message and be correctly understood. Secondly, by following the rules, you form a habit and won't have any concerns in formal writing, where accuracy is crucial.


Rules for using Will and Going To

Explaining the difference between will vs going to, we have provided some of the situations when to use each phrase. However, there are some more recommendations to choose between will and going to. 

When to use Will

Will has a strong association with the future. As it was said, you should use it for unexpected events, predictions based on personal feelings, and expressing a strong certainty.  Additionally, will is used for:

  • making promises (I will help you with your homework.);
  • giving commands (You will do your homework by the end of the day.);
  • in the first conditional (If you study hard, you will pass the exam.)

It seems challenging to remember all the cases, but with some practice, you will navigate the use of ‘will’ intuitively.

When to use Going To

'Going to' might be considered a more accurate phrase since it is mostly used to talk about future events based on real evidence. However, there are some differences as well:

  • Expressing future intentions. For example, ‘I am going to start a new job next month.’ In this sentence a person planned to change a job, but there is no 100% chance that such event will happen.
  • Showing imminence. For example, ‘The glass is going to fall.’ It demonstrates that the glass is going to fall if something continues to happen (e.g., a person will continue to move the glass to the edge of the table.). However, the circumstances might change.
  • Warning or threatening. For example, ‘You are going to regret it if you don’t study for the exam.' Such a statement might be based on someone's personal background. However, there is no 100% chance that another person is going to regret it as well.

Although we name it ‘going to,' the correct structure is ‘be+going+to.' To form a sentence with this phase, you have to use the present form of the verb ‘to be’ and then add ‘going to.’ Otherwise, there will be a grammatical error.

Will vs Be Going To

As you can see, "will" and "going to" are often used interchangeably and have the same meaning. While there are some subtle differences, you can't go wrong with either one. In other words, regardless of which one you use, you will still be understood.

However, it's still important to understand the difference between them and use the correct one. When in doubt, use "will" for unexpected events and "going to" for planned events.

Deciphering the Differences Between 'Will' and 'Going to'


Will is typically for unexpected or not planned events in the future and predictions based on personal feelings, while ‘be going to’ is used for planned events and predictions basedon real evidence.. However, the two often tend to be interchangeable. Practice using both to sound more natural and intuitively use the right word for all situations!

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monaj horwithFeb 11th, 2024
lets goo
Andreas Jan 23rd, 2024
Dear reader of my message, i think there is an error in the image of subsection "Will vs Be Going To". Specifically, in the included sentence: "I think it will rain tomorrow. (prediction based on facts)", the error is that the expressed prediction using "will" (instead of "be+going+to") should not be based on fact. Anyway, thank you for your great material. Best regards, Andreas
ん。。。んJan 22nd, 2024
Maybe you should check that the rules given are not mixed up before posting it. It could confuse people a lot.
Aditya Jan 16th, 2024
Ali Jan 12th, 2024
Amazing Thank's alot
MujDec 21st, 2023
I hv gone through some sites and resources, andalmost all if them agreed that "going to " is used for certain prediction
MonikaDec 13th, 2023
Sorry to find out that mistake on these otherwise good looking websites. I must agree with Hansoo, not will but going to is used to talk about something that you see is going to happen (predictions based on present evidence).
ايلاف Dec 10th, 2023
HansooNov 9th, 2023
I believe you have Will and Be going to backwards with respect to predictions. will is for predictions based on feelings, no evidence while Be going to is based on some present evidence.
reinaOct 18th, 2023