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Difference between Will and Be Going To

In this lesson of Learning English as a Second Language, we shall learn:

  • Predicting Future Using Will and Be Going to.
  • Difference between Prior and Instant Decisions.

In Unit 33 , we learnt the use of Be Going To to express Future Time and in that lesson I told you that there is  a little difference between Will and Be Going To , but I did not explain it there.

Well , today we will observe and study that difference. First of all we will look at:

Predicting Future :

Will and Be Going To both  can be used for predicting future.

Video Tutorial in English

Video Tutorial in Urdu

Using Will for Predictions:

If you think that something will happen in the future without having any present situation or sign , you should use Will for such prediction.

e.g. One day he'll be rich.

       One day people will travel to Mars.

The above examples show what  a person thinks will  happen in the future but not based on any present situation or sign.

Using Be Going to  for Predictions:

We use Be Going To for a  prediction based on the present situation or sign.

e.g. Look at those dark clouds. It is going to rain.

Not: It will rain   X

The above example shows that  prediction was made based on the present situation (dark clouds).

You must Remember that a prediction is only a prediction, it may or may not happen when  the time comes.

Kinds of Decision:

  1. Prior Decision.
  2. Instant Decision.

Will and Be Going To both can be used for Decisions.

Prior Decision:

If you have already decided to do something  before talking about it , is called a Prior Decision.

Instant Decision:

If you decide  something at the time of speaking , is called an Instant Decision.

Decisions made before the time of speaking (Prior Decisions):

We use only Be Going To for actions which we have already decided. It means that we don't decide them at the time of speaking.

e.g. Next year, I am going to take admission in a college. (Already decided)

       She is going to buy a car next week.    (Already decided)

In example no.1 , the decision of joining a college is not an instant decision, it is a preplanned action. It  means that the person had already decided this thing before the time of speaking.

In example no.2 , the decision of buying a car is also not an instant decision. The person had already decided to buy a car next week.

Decision Made At The Time of Speaking (Instant Decisions):

For an instant decision, only WILL is used. It means that if you decide something to do at the time of speaking, you will use WILL not Be Going To for such decision.


1.    A:    Aslam is in the shower right now.

       B:    Ok. I'll wait.     (Instant decision)

2.    Ali:    What are you doing nowadays?

       Jim:    I'm learning English at www.atozofenglish.com .

      Ali:    Really! Is it a good website for learning English?

      Jim:    Yes, it is.

      Ali:    I'll also visit the website.       (Instant decision)

In example no.1 B decides  to wait at the time of speaking and uses Will to express his instant decision because B did not know if Aslam would be in the shower.

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