“Be going to” is a grammatical construction in English that is used to refer to various types of future occurrences. Although it uses the present participle, “going,” it is not considered present continuous tense in any way. 

Contents:

Form

Affirmative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “am/is/are” + “going to

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘m/-‘s/-‘re” + “going to

  • “I‘m going to order a steak for dinner later.”
  • “He’s going to start looking for a new job next week.”
Negative sentences 

Full form:

subject + “am/is/are not” + “going to

Contracted form:

subject + “-‘m/-‘s/-‘re not” + “going to

  • “The weather forecast says it’s not going to rain.”
  • “I‘m not going to continue working there anymore.”
Questions 

Full forms:

(a) “am/is/are” + subject + + “going to” + base form of verb

(b) question word + “am/is/are” + subject + “going to” + base form of verb

  • Is he going to perform at the show?”
  • When are you going to visit Japan?”
Negative questions

It is possible to make negative questions even though their uses are quite specific. [See also: Negative questions]

The structure for full forms and contracted forms are slightly different. Contracted forms are preferred in general.

Contracted forms:

isn’t/aren’t” + subject + “going to” + base form of verb

question word + “isn’t/aren’t” + subject + “going to” + base form of verb

* Please note: There is no contraction with “am not” for the first person pronoun, “I.”

Full forms:

(a) “am/is/are” + subject + “not going to” + base form of verb

(b) question word + “am/is/are” + subject + “not going to” + base form of verb

  • Isn’t he going to help them out?”
  • Why are they not going to the party?”

Timeline

Although “going to” is used to refer to plans in the future, the timeline is actually about when you’ve made a decision and your intentions for the future.

“Going to” is used after a decision has been made and usually before arrangements are made.


Uses of “Going to”

1.   To talk about future plans or intentions.
  • Are you going to watch the game tonight?”
    • “No, I‘m not going to watch the game tonight. I‘m going to the cinema.”

* Please note: If arrangements have been made, we would use the present continuous to talk about the future instead. [See also: Future: Present simple and present continuous]

  • Are you watching the game tonight?”
  • “No. I‘m not watching the game tonight. I‘m watching a movie instead.”
a.   With past tense – To talk about future plans or intentions that didn’t happen.
  • “We were going to take the bus but decided to catch an Uber instead.”
  • “The weather forecast said it wasn’t going to rain, and then we got caught in the rain!”
2.   To make predictions – based on current evidence.

Here, predictions are made based on what is currently happening.

  • “The weather forecast says it‘s going to rain all week.”
  • “I just watched the news. Looks like prices are going to continue increasing.”
a. To express something that is about to happen.
  • “The bomb’s going to explode!”
  • “Get off the table now or it‘s going to break!”
3.   As a command or to state something that is obligatory.
  • “He‘s going to have to work harder this semester.”
  • “You‘re not going to listen to a word he says because it’s not true!”

Original post: 14 October 2020

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