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Future Verb Tense: “will”, “going to”, “gonna” | English Grammar Lesson

TIP: Use this for pronunciation practice, too!

This lesson is part of the series on Verbs in English:

  1. Simple Past Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
  2. Present Perfect Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
  3. Present Perfect Continuous Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
  4. Past Perfect Verb Tense (Grammar + Pronunciation)
  5. Future Verb Tense: “will”, “going to”, “gonna” (Grammar + Pronunciation)

Listen to the audio: 

…or watch the video!

In English, we generally speak in three different times, or tenses.

Three Verb Tenses

  1. the present (right now, the present moment, etc.)
  2. the past (yesterday, last week, before, earlier, etc.); or
  3. the future (tomorrow, next year, next week, etc).

 

The Future Tenses

There are two verbs that help us talk about the future:

  • “will”
  • “going to” (or “gonna”)

Will and going to mean that an action or event occurs at a later time than the speech, whether that’s in five minutes or five years.

Formality

“Going to” and “will” may vary in formality.

Because native English speakers de-stress function words, such as “to”, and connect their speech,

“going to” –> “gonna” 

which is more informal and casual than “going to” and “will”.

Examples

If a speaker says at 2:00pm:

  • “I will leave soon”

that speaker will absolutely leave soon after 2:00pm, perhaps 2:05pm or 2:15pm.

The same result occurs if the speaker says at 2:00pm:

  • “I’m going to leave soon.”

He will also leave at 2:05pm or 2:15pm, soon after the time he spoke the words. But the speech sounds a bit more informal.

And the same result occurs with the most informal:

  • “I’m gonna leave soon.”

Got it?

Let’s practice talking about the future with “will”, “going to” and “gonna”. In these examples, I’ll contract the verb “will” as I would when I speak in everyday life.

Listen and Repeat

  • “We‘ll see you at the restaurant by 8 o’clock.”
  • “You‘ll be second in command.”
  • “They are going to regret that.”
  • “She is going to be the prettiest girl at the party.”
  • “I’m gonna do to it later.”
  • “He’s gonna try his hardest to win.”

You can practice the pronunciation of the contracted verb “will” here.

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2 comments

  1. I love this post,however, there is one thing that sounds ambiguous to me. The difference between will and going to. You say they are used in different contexts.You should tell the readers more how they are used in those contexts in order to make them easier to understand.

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