English grammar: Future intentions

Here are some ways you can talk about your future plans and intentions in English. These are activities that you know will happen, because you planned them and decided to do them.

Be going to + verb

Use this to talk about activities you planned before.

Remember to change "be" to the correct form for the subject:

I am going to play tennis tomorrow.
You are going to see your cousin next week.
He / She is going to get married in September.
We are going to have a party this weekend.
They are going to save up for a new car.

Question form

As with all verbs that use the verb "to be", change the subject and the form of the verb to make questions:

Am I going to…?
Are you going to…?
Is he / she going to…?
Are we going to…?
Are they going to…?

Short replies

Yes I am / No I'm not
Yes you are / No you aren't (or No you're not)
Yes he is / No he isn't
Yes we are / No we aren't (or No we're not)
Yes they are / No they aren't (or No they're not)

Negative form

I am not going to leave my job.
You aren't going to visit your cousin this week.
He / She isn't going to get married.
We aren't going to move house.
They aren't going to study at university.

Present Continuous

We use the Present Continuous to talk about planned appointments and activities. These are the types of activities that you write in your diary, for example. We often give a time reference.

Very often, "be going to" and the Present Continuous can be used in the same situations.

I'm visiting our new office in London this afternoon. (I'm gong to visit our new office…)

You're meeting the boss tomorrow. (You're going to meet the boss…)

He / She is working from home next week. (He is going to work from home…)

We're taking the train to Scotland. (We are going to take the train…)

They're leaving later today. (They are going to leave…)

See our grammar page on the Present Continuous to find out more.

Be planning to / Be thinking of

You can use the verbs "plan" and "think" in the present continuous is to talk about activities that aren't 100% definite.

I'm planning to study abroad next year.

We're thinking of getting a dog.

Remember: "be planning to" is followed by the verb; "be thinking of" is followed by a gerund (ing form).

Review of "will"

We can use "will" to talk about the future and make predictions.

For example:

"We won't have enough money to buy a new house this year."

"I think he'll get a promotion next month."

We can also use "will" to talk about decisions that we make at the time of speaking (NOT decisions that we plan before):

"I'll help you with your bags." (at the moment you see someone with a heavy bag)

It is wrong to say "I'm going to help you with your bags" or "I'm helping you with your bags" in this situation.

For more information, see our page on using will.

Extra English grammar pages

Using future forms

Talking about your plans in English

Future plans exercise

Click the Start button below to begin the exercise. For each question, select the missing word from the choices. Then click the arrow on the right to go to the next question.
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