English Grammar Course Unit 5: Going to (I am going to do)

Why should you study this unit?

In this unit, you will learn how to talk about things you are going to do in the future. It could be something you have already decided to do or something that you just thought of and wish to do in the future. So, the next time you have to tell your friends that you have a job interview or that you are going to watch your favorite movie, this unit will help you say it.

  1. We use going to (do) when we say what we have already decided to do, or what we intend to do in the future:
  • A: There’s a movie on television tonight.Are you going to watch it?
  • B: No, I’m too tired.I’m going to make it an early night.
  • A: I hear Ann has won a lot of money. What is she going to do with it?
  • B: I’ve heard she’s going to travel around the world.

For the difference between will and going to see Unit 8.

2. We prefer to use the present continuous (I am doing) when we say what someone has arranged to do – for example, arranged to meet someone, arranged to travel somewhere.

 Going to is also possible:
 What time are you meeting Rita? (or are you going to meet)
 I’m leaving for London on Monday. (or I’m going to leave)

See also section a of Unit 4.

3. We use was/were going to to say what someone intended to do in the past (but didn’t do):

  • We were going to take the train, but then we decided to go by car.
  • A: Did Tom take the exam?
  • B: No, he was going to take it, but then he changed his mind.
English Grammar Course Going to

D. Going to also has another meaning. Study this example situation:

The girl can’t see where she is going. There is a hole in front of her.
She is going to fall into the hole.
Here the speaker is saying what she thinks will happen.
Of course she doesn’t mean that the girl intends to fall into the hole.

We use going to in this way when we say what we think will happen. Usually there is something in the present situation (the girl walking toward the hole) that makes the speaker sure about what will happen.

Look’ at those black clouds! It’s going to rain. (the clouds are there now)
Oh, I feel terrible. I think I’m going to be sick. (I feel terrible now)

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