Will or going to ...

Lana   Friday, July 04, 2003, 04:19 GMT
It seems to me that
1.1, 1.7, 2.1, 2.2 can use either one -- "will" or "going to."

1.2, 1.4, 1.5, you are right, they should only use "will."

1.6 should use "will", but could use "going to."

1.3 An example for this might be "I will quit smoking!", but this could just as well use "going to."

I think "will" can be used in any case, but "going to" has more restrictions on when it can be used, as you have shown. I think if you are not sure, you should be safe using "will."

Also, in 1.4, "Will you help me?" is a polite request. You can say "Are you going to help me?" but it would mean something a little different. It would be more demanding, as if it is expected that they should help you.
Ryan   Friday, July 04, 2003, 05:08 GMT
"Going to" + the infinitive is normally the accepted construction for continuous actions in the future (in the USA, at least).

If I ask a question like "What will you do after lunch," the response would still be "I'm going to do some shopping" because it is a continuous action that lasts the entire afternoon.

A notable exception to this is with the verb "to be." The question could be either "Where are you going to be after lunch" or "Where will you be after lunch?"

The respondent could either answer "I'll be shopping" or "I'm going to do some shopping." Both are basically correct, although "I'll be shopping" is probably more colloquial.

Most Americans, especially younger ones, would just say "I'm going shopping" as the colloquial answer to the initial question.

abcd   Friday, July 04, 2003, 06:28 GMT
David Bosch
You aren't bad at all for a 8th grade. I knew that German people learn English very well.
David Bosch   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 03:31 GMT
Thank you, yes I suppose it is because German and English are so alike.
boy   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 03:49 GMT
Lana, Ryan, David......

2.1 I'm going to study Electronics next year.

I'd say like this:

I'll have to study Electronics next year. (Is this sentence right?)

Structure: Will have + infinitive form.

To David,

I knew an ESL Teacher who was born in Germany. His accent was very much to an American. He spoke English very well. He taught me some German words and I forgot most of them. I guess there is a word for "Hello" -- "Guten teg".
xerxes   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 07:02 GMT
to boy
I prefer your first sentence :
>>2.1 I'm going to study Electronics next year. <<
Because you have already planned and you know you will study Electronics.

In your next sentence which is gramatically correct :
>>I'll have to study Electronics next year.<<
Because of the use of 'have', It seems that you are forced to study Electronics. Is this what you want to say ?

The Spelling of "Guten teg" is "guten Tag".
Good luck !
Rock   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 11:47 GMT
Thank you Chantal, Lana, Daivd Bosch, ...
Rock   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 11:54 GMT
thank you Ryan
My teacher is English. He told me if you have already decided to do some shopping use 'going to' but if you decided to go shopping right now(as a spontaneous decision) use 'will'.
Do you make this distinction between the two futures in the US ?
Ryan   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 15:02 GMT
Yeah, that sounds about right, Rock. Most people will not use "will" in this construction, though, unless they are talking about "where they will be." If they are going to be performing another action besides "being" someplace, people will inevitably use the "going to" expression.

One exception I can think of, though:

What will you be doing this afternoon?

Most likely answer: I'm going to be doing some shopping.
Alternate answer: I think (that) I will do some shopping.

As you can see, like your English teacher said, the second answer was a decision that you just made at the same time you were asked. You had no intention of going shopping until you were asked what you were going to be doing.

But the first answer is the more common one, as you had already planned to go shopping.

The only time you would ever use "will," if you had previously planned something, is if you had planned to "be" someplace.

Where are you going to be this afternoon?

1. I will be at the mall.
2. I'm going to be at the mall.

are acceptable responses, although the "will" expression indicates that you "definitely" will be at the mall, while the second expression indicates that you intend to be at the mall, but perhaps for some reason you might change your mind or something else might come up.

Lana   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 18:23 GMT
This whole thing about it depending on whether something is planned in advance, or whether it is a continuous action, makes no sense to me.

Ryan said:
<If I ask a question like "What will you do after lunch," the response would
still be "I'm going to do some shopping" because it is a continuous action
that lasts the entire afternoon. >

How do you know he plans to shop for the entire afternoon? Why does the length of time have anything to do with it? He could just as easily say, "I'm going to tie my shoes", or "I'm going to deposit a check in the bank." Those actions just take a minute.

Why can't a spontaneous decision use "going to"?
Q: "Are you going to eat your dessert?"
A: "Hmm, ... no, I'm not going to. You can have it."

"I just decided I'm going to take that class after all."

In speaking, it usually comes out as "gonna" -- "Hmm, I think I'm gonna stop in here for a minute."

Maybe it depends on what country or part of a country you are from? ? ?
Ryan   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 18:47 GMT
Lana, you're right and I was wrong before. It doesn't have to be a continuous action. Rock's teacher gave him the right answer. The only time "will" is used is either if the decision is made right there on the spot "What are you going to do this afternoon?" "I think I will go shopping," or, if the person is using the verb "to be." "What will (colloq. What'll) you be doing this afternoon?" "I will (I'll) be shopping." (although "going to" or just "going" without the "be" is still more commonly used).

In this sense, using the verb "to be" with the gerund form of "to shop" definitely has the quality of a continuous action.

Like I said before, usually the verb construction "will" has a more definite quality to it than "going to" and refers to a decision made on the spot, not one the person had already decided to do in the past.

Yes, and "gonna" is the colloquial way most Americans say "going to," but I'm not sure they say this in every English-speaking country.

David Bosch   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 18:57 GMT
to boy:

'I'm going to study electronics next year' and 'I'll have to study Electronics next year' are definitely not the same at all.

The first one tells us he or she intends or has decided to study electronics the following year; but the second one (will have) tells us that there's no choice and he or she will have to do it no matter what.

I'd rather say 'Hallo', if it is informal.
Rock   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 20:07 GMT
Rock thanks for all your explanations.
Rock   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 22:02 GMT
Sorry I ment :
Ryan thanks for all your explanations.
Lana   Saturday, July 05, 2003, 22:12 GMT
To be honest, I know there are cases where you would not use "going to" but I can't figure out what the rule would be to distinguish them. I still don't understand how the on-the-spot decisions and continuous action stuff applies, but that's OK since I can just go by what "sounds right" to me, LOL. But I would still say if someone is not sure, "will" would probably be the way to go.