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Welcome to your GOING TO + VERB lesson! In this topic we talk about:

• When do we use GOING TO + VERB? 

GOING TO + VERB or the Present Continuous? 

Predictions for the future. 


Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

When do we use GOING TO + VERB?

“I am going to do something” means that you have already decided to do it. Have a look at these conversations:

James: Are you going to cook something tonight? 
Richard: Yes, I’ve bought three kilos of sausages, I‘m going to cook sausage and rice.

James: What are your plans for Christmas? 
Richard: My parents are going to visit, we‘re going to have a family reunion.

GOING TO + VERB or the Present Continuous?

Normally we us the Present Continuous when talking about something that we have arranged to do. For example, a table at a restaurant you have booked, a person you have arranged to see:

We‘re eating at the Italian place tonight. 
(The table has been booked)

I‘m seeing James tomorrow, we’re watching a film. 
(The tickets have been bought)

GOING TO + VERB means that you have planned to do something, but not arranged to do it:

We‘re going to eat out somewhere this weekend. 
(We haven’t booked a table yet)

I‘m going to visit my grandma tonight. 
(I haven’t arranged this with her)

It’s important to underline that the difference between these two forms are very small, and most of the time the two forms are interchangeable.

Predictions for the future

GOING TO + VERB is also used to predict that something is going to happen in the future. We use this form when there is evidence to support the prediction. Look at these examples:

Look at those black clouds, it‘s going to rain.

Oh, dear. We‘re going to run out of petrol.

Brian hasn’t studied. He‘s going to fail his exams.


This form is used to say that you wanted to do something, but in the end you didn’t do it:

We were going to eat out, but then it started to rain.

She was going to study law, but she dropped out of university.

James was going to move to the coast, but he decided against it.

This form is also used when you predicted something, but it didn’t happen:

I thought England was going to win the rugby, but I was wrong.


  • GOING TO + VERB is used when the subject has already decided to do the verb.
  • The Present Continuous is normally used to talk about something that you have arranged to do with someone else.
  • GOING TO + VERB is also used to make predictions of the future.
  • WAS GOING TO + VERB is used to talk about something you had decided to do, but didn’t do in the end.