Present future 1

Will and shall: form

Will and shall are modal verbs. They are used with the base form of the main verb (They will go; I shall ask her). Shall is only used for future time reference with I and we, and is more formal than will

singular and plural


I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(full form)

will or shall



I, she, he, it, you, we, they

(short form)


I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(full form)

will not or shall not

will not


I, we

she, he, it, you, they

(short form)

won’t or shan’t


? +

Will or Shall


I, we

she, he, it, you, they


? −

Won’t or Shan’t


I, we

she, he, it, you, they


We use will:

to make predictions, usually based on our opinions or our past experience:

  • I think it'll be extremely hot there.

to talk about future events we haven't arranged yet:

  • We 'll probably stay in some sort of mountain lodge there.

to talk about future events or facts that are not personal:

  • The best player on the tour will get a special trophy.

  • The prime minister will open the debate in parliament tomorrow.

to talk about something we decide to do at the time of speaking:

  • Tell me all about it and I'll pass on the information to the rest of the team.

We often use will to make offers, promises or suggestions:

  • Don't worry, I'll let everyone know. (a promise)

Be going to: form

We use be going to + the base form of the verb:

  • I’m going to take a few exams at the end of the year.

  • It’s going to be difficult to get a job during the summer as the tourist industry is suffering from the economic downturn.


Going to often means the same as the present continuous and will.

We use going to

to talk about events in the future we have already thought about and intend to do:

  • We're going to hire a bus (we intend to go, but we haven't made the arrangements yet).

  • We're going to get a boat to a couple of the islands.

to make predictions when there is present evidence:

  • Well, we're certainly going to have a varied trip. (I am judging this from what I know about the plans)

Going to and will* can follow words like think, doubt, expect, believe, probably, certainly, definitely, be sure to show that it is an opinion about the future:

  • I think it's going to be a great trip.
  • I'm sure we'll enjoy it whatever the weather.
  • It'll probably rain every day.