I am going to be teaching this soon and just can't figure out how to explain the difference in uses. As a native speaker I don't think about it.
1 2 3 4 5
Comments  (Page 2) 
Usually, will is a simple statement of future fact, while going to indicates a perceived plan. [url=http://www.englishpage.com/verbpage/simplefuture.html ]HERE[/url] is more detail.
Will is used:

1. Lack of certainty when predicting something - possibility. E.g. I think it will rain tonight. (The speaker is not sure whether or not it will rain...it's just a possibility)
2. Spontaneous Decisions / Offer - as an immediate reply to something. E.g. A: 'I need to go to the airport tomorrow morning, but my dad can't take me.'
B: 'Don't worry. I' ll take you myself.' (Be used 'will' as an immediate response to what A said. It is also an offer - B offers to take A to the airport)
3. Threat. E.g. If you kiss my boyfriend I'll kill you. (The last part of the sentence - I'll kill you - is the threat)
4. Conditions / Real possibilities. E.g. If it rains I will stay home. (First conditional - used to express a real possibility)

Going to is used:

1. To express certainty. E.g. It is going to rain. Look at all those dark clouds in the sky. (The dark clouds are proof that it is definitely going to rain. When compared to No. 1 for 'will' it is obvious that the possibility is much bigger)
2. To speak of something which has been planned in advance. E.g. A: Dad, my bicycle needs to be repaired.
B: Yes I know, I've seen it and I am going to repair it later on today. (B has already planned to repair the bicycle)

Of course this depends on the level of the class you are teaching, for example, I wouldn't teach WILL for THREAT or CONDITION to a pre-intermediate class.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
If teaching it for the first time, how about breaking it down like this:

Decisions/offers  .......... Intentions.............plans

Decisions/offers...  we use 'will'

at the moment of deciding or offering something E.g.

It's hot in here, I'll open the window.

O.K., I'll go tomorrow.

If it's nice tomorrow, we'll go to the seaside.

Intentions..... we use 'going to'

 When the decision/offer has been decided but has not been totally organised

We've decided that we're going to the seaside tomorrow

Tom's told me that he's going to help me with the repair.

Plans........ we use 'present continuous'

When the decision has been made and all the arrangements made, tickets bought, timetable sorted , etc.

We've bought the tickets so we're flying to Rome next month.

That's it then,the deposit's been paid; we're buying a new car.


Opinions, no physical evidence ......... we use 'will'.

I think Chelsea will win.

The forecast says it will be raining tomorrow.

When there is physical evidence which can be seen, heard, felt.......we use 'going to'.

Look at those dark clouds, it's going to rain.

Can you hear that noise, the car's going to break down.

Finally , things which will happen in the future and not now.

Things which will happen in the future, not now, ....we use 'will'

We will all die someday.

Men will live on the moon sometime.

As a final word, it isn't as easy as this but it helps students get some idea of it and also it fits most examination questions at a basic level.
1. Lack of certainty when predicting something - possibility. E.g. I think it will rain tonight. (The speaker is not sure whether or not it will rain...it's just a possibility)
This at least is a dangerous guideline. All of these are common:

I think it will rain tonight.
I think it's going to rain tonight.
I'm sure it will rain tonight.
I'm sure it's going to rain tonight.

Johnny Mom, if I get 100 on my math test, will you take me out for ice cream? Mom Yes, I'll take you out for ice cream. I promise.

Offers to help
Patricia I lost my ring Brian No problem. I'll help you find it.

Request for help
PeterI need to change the oil in my car. Will you help me?
WilliamOf course, I'll help you.
Would is even more polite in requests for help.

I need to change the oil in my car. Are you going to help me? is considered impolite.

Predictions about the future
Heather Some statisticians predict that there will be10 billion people in the world by 2050. Melinda I think they are right. I heard there won't be enough food in the world for everyone. Will is often used in predictions, but be going to is also used and acceptable.

Refusal of things
I can't open this bottle of wine.
Sally Yeah. The cork won't come out.
Be Going To

State a plan or intention
Holly What are you going to do this summer? Mandy I am going to travel across Europe. I am going to see everything from the Eiffel Tower to the Coliseum in Rome.

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
i want to know the diffrence btween iam going to and will
is it ok to say there is no clouds it wiil not rain or no
Please read both pages of this thread and follow the links provided.
great website, thanx for that Emotion: smile
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
To me, "I will" denotes more of a willness to do certain things while "I am going to" suggests a stronger commitment to perform a task. For example, "I will go to your house this afternoon" usually simply means that "I have the intention of and will be going to your house this afternoon GRANTED that nothing comes up". I might end up going simply because "I suddenly don't feel like it".

On the other hand, saying "I am going to your house this afternoon" seems to carry a stronger commitment and most likely will happen regardless of what happens.

In short, perhaps we may say that "I will" is simply showing a willness and/or desire to do certain things, while "I am going to" suggests a pre-planned and well-planned task which 99% of the time will be carried out in due time.

"I am going to bring your books this afternoon. Don't worry about it" just doesn't sound right.......most people will say "I will bring your books this afternoon. Don't worry about it."
Show more