Talking about the future in English can be confusing!
We use “will”, “shall”, “be going to” and “the Present Continuous” for different reasons when we talk about the future.
Will / Shall + infinitive
We use “will”, “shall” for:
-instant decisions at the time of speaking.
I’ll have the steak.
I won’t tell anybody your secret
I’ll pick you up at seven.
– predictions (without present evidence)
You’ll never come back to live here.
Shall we see a movie tonight?
NB: Use shall (NOT will) with “I” and “we” for offers and suggestions when they are questions.
We also use “will” for future facts.
I’ll be forty this year!
Be going to + infinitive
We use going to for:
– planned actions that we have already decided to do before the time of speaking.
We’re going to get married next year.
I’m going to play football on Saturday.
– predictions based on present evidence.
Look at those black clouds! It’s going to rain.
We’ve missed the train! We’re going to be late.
NB: With the word go you can leave out the infinitive.
I’m going to go to Switzerland. —> I’m going to Switzerland.
We can use “going to” or “Present Continuous” for future plans.
– “going to” shows you have made a decision.
We’re going to get married in the spring.
– “Present Continuous” emphasizes that you have made the arrangements.
We’re getting married on May 5th.
NB: We usually use Present Continuous when we have made an arrangement with another person. They are the kind of arrangements you would write in a diary.
I’m seeing the doctor at 2pm tomorrow. ( I have an appointment)
I’m meeting Anna for breakfast on Saturday. ( I ‘ve made an arrangement with Anna)
NB: We can always use “going to” instead of “Present Continuous”.