going to

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See also: going-to


Alternative forms[edit]


(be) going to

  1. Forms a present progressive tense with a future aspect.
    I’m going to throw out the milk if nobody’s going to drink it.
  2. Entails a past progressive action that preceded an ensuing occurrence or action in the past.
    I was going to cut the grass, but it started raining.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Going is technically a present participle (of go) that may be followed by an infinitive with “to”. Such a phrase is commonly considered a modal or auxiliary verb.
  • The future formed with "going to" (or "gonna") differs from that formed with "will". It usually indicates something already planned, an intention, or something that is bound to happen. Some examples of this contrast:
will going to
I'll give you a hundred dollars. • I am offering you the money.
• I propose the money as my part of an exchange with you.
I'm going to give you a hundred dollars. (or I'm giving you a hundred dollars.) • I have already decided to give you the money.
I'll study architecture. • I plan to study architecture
• I have an idea—to study architecture.
• Studying architecture will solve my dilemma.
I'm going to study architecture. • I have been accepted to study architecture.
• I will shortly be starting my studies in architecture.
• I firmly intend to study architecture and you can't change my mind.
We'll have a baby. • We intend or plan to have a baby (nobody is pregnant yet).
• I propose we have a baby.
• By that point, we will have had a baby.
We're going to have a baby. (or We're having a baby.) • One of us is already pregnant.
• We are determined to have a baby.
• We plan to have a baby and you can't stop us.
You'll die. • That course of action will cause your death (If you do that is implied). You're going to die. • Your fate is sealed.
• I am threatening to kill you.
If you do that, you'll die. • If you do that, you are likely to die.
• I fear you will die.
• I am threatening to kill you (but more calmly; please, friend, reassess your course of action.)
If you do that, you're going to die. • If you do that, it will inevitably cause your death. (Can also be used under the same circumstances as you'll die, but conveys the thought more strongly.)
• I am threatening to kill you (but more firmly; go ahead, try me.)
But you'll die. • You mustn't do that, because it would cause your death. (You may or may not have been aware of that.) But you're going to die. • We already know you are going to die; therefore you can't do that (either because your death will preclude it, or because the fact of your death makes it inadvisable).
• You know this course of action will kill you; why do you persist in it?
She'll be all right. • I am reassuring you.
• Based on my experience, I believe she'll be all right.
• I am trying to convince myself she'll be all right.
She's going to be all right. • I am reassuring you (in stronger terms); there is no reason to doubt she'll be all right.
• Good news: it has been confirmed she will recover.
We'll be there at nine. • We plan to arrive at nine.
• We expect to arrive at nine given experience.
We're going to be there at nine. • It has become clear that we will arrive at nine.
• Our plans have changed/circumstances have intervened and we will now be arriving at nine.
Nobody will come. • I worry nobody will come.
• I predict nobody will come.
• Nobody will come if you do what you propose.
Nobody is going to come. • I have become resigned to nobody coming.
• I predict nobody will come (but more strongly or cynically; you are foolish to think anyone will come).

However, there are other contexts that are such that the two modals will mean the same thing.

  • It is sometimes used without the main verb (in the infinitive) if the verb contextually inferable:
"Did you cut the grass?" "No, I was going to, but it started raining."
  • In spoken English "going to" is often replaced by "gonna", but only when forming a future, not in a sentence like "I'm going to New York" (although this might be pronounced "I'm goin' to New York").


See also[edit]

  • to (particle)