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Future Tense: Be Going To

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What is the future tense with be going to?
The future tense with be going to talks about future actions and events which have been planned. We know the action is going to happen. It has been decided. For example:

    I am going to visit my friends in Spain next week.
    He is going to start his new job tomorrow.
    She is going to study for the test tonight.

What is the sentence structure?
The sentence structure for positive sentences looks like this:

    subject  |  be verb  |  going  |  infinitive (to + verb)  |  object/complement

    She  |  is  |  going  |  to visit  |  her brother on Saturday.
    I  |  am  |  going  |  to buy  |  a new computer after work.
    They  |  are  |  going  |  to talk  |  with the teacher after class.

A negative sentence shows someone without a plan to take action. The structure is:

    subject  |  be verb + not  |  going  |  infinitive (to + verb)  |  object/complement

    I  |  am not  |  going  |  to eat  |  breakfast this morning. I must leave early.
    Megan  |  is not |  going  |  to see a movie this afternoon.
    We  |  are not  |  going  |  to take a vacation this year. We don't have any money!

And lastly, here is the sentence structure for question sentences. For yes/no, or closed questions, the structure is:

    be verb  |  subject  |  going  |  infinitive (to + verb)  |  object/complement

    Are  |  you  |  going  |  to eat  |  breakfast this morning?
    Are  |  they  |  going  |  to talk  |  with the teacher after class?
    Is  |  Megan  |  going  |  to see a movie this afternoon?

And for wh-questions, or open questions, the structure is:

    wh-question  |  be verb  |  subject  |  going  |  infinitive (to + verb)  |  object/complement

    What  |  are  |  you  |  going  |  to do  |  on vacation?
    When  |  are  |  you  |  going  |  to go  |  on vacation?

    Where are you going to go on vacation?
    Why are you going to go on vacation?
    Who are you going to go on vacation with?

How is the future tense with be going to used?
The future tense with be going to focuses on a decided action in the future. It is different than the future tense with will, because it doesn't show a plan. Let's look at the below conversation:

    A: What will you do for spring vacation?
    B: Well, I am going to go skiing for a few days.
    A: That sounds great. Where are you going to stay?
    B: We are going to stay at a small cabin on the slopes. We made the reservation six months ago because the place is very popular.
    A: When are you going to go?
    B: We are going to leave on Tuesday. How about you?
    A: I don't have any plans. I won't do anything.

Is there additional information about be going to?
We can also use the present progressive tense to talk about a plan in the future. This is a more advanced point, though. Students should only learn and practice this grammar point after developing strong skills with be going to.

Here are a few examples:

    She is going to visit her brother on Sunday.
    She is visiting her brother on Sunday.

    They are going to go to Disneyland for vacation this summer.
    They are going to Disneyland for vacation this summer.


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