Be going to

From Teflpedia

Be going to do something often referred to as Going to is an English lexical-grammatical structure.

Meaning[edit | edit source]

As a very commonly used multi-word verb form, in this case, a semi-auxiliary (i.e. it always needs a main verb, in this example, "make") to express future intention - I'm going to make a nice cup of tea.; also with future intention where a prediction is made based on evidence visible to the speaker Look at those clouds, it's going to rain, Look at that lady, she's going to have a baby; a warning You're driving too fast, you're going to kill us all!

  • to predict the future based on evidence in the present (Look at that cloud - we're going to get soaked!);
  • to make predictions about future events that are outside our control (I've spoken to them about it, but they're going to do whatever they want.)

Form[edit | edit source]

The general form is:

  • "Subject is going to do something".

This follows the standard rules for making questions and negation.


Negation[edit | edit source]

There are two ways to achieve negation. The first, and more common way is to negate the verb be, e.g. I'm not going to take the bus.

There are two ways to achieve negative contraction for most cases except the first person singular:

  • I'm not going to
  • you're not going to = you aren't going to
  • he's not going to = he isn't going to
  • she's not going to = she isn't going to
  • it's not going to = it isn't going to
  • we're not going to = we aren't going to
  • they're not going to = they aren't going to

The second, less common way is to negate the to infinitive, e.g. I'm going to not take the bus.

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Often pronounced "gonna".

Appropriacy[edit | edit source]

This is less used in formal writing.

Pedagogy[edit | edit source]

Confusion with diary future[edit | edit source]

Learners - and often teachers - are likely to confuse "going to" with uses of the diary future that use go. In going to, going must be followed by a verb; i.e. "going + to-infinitive". The diary future can use the form "going" followed by a prepositional phrase ("to + noun phrase"). Compare "I'm going to go to the movies tonight" (using going to) v. "I'm going to the movies tonight" (diary future).

References[edit | edit source]