Hi all,

In general terms, it seems that "to be going to" is used for a plan that's already been made at the time of speaking (ex. "We're going to have drinks later on tonight") and that "will" is used to express a decision made at the moment of speaking (ex. "We ran out of sugar. I'll go to the store to buy some"). But then there are cases that can be EITHER...supposedly these cases are when the sentence is used to "predict the future". Could you guys give me some examples of this type of sentence???

" Some market analysts believe that the Dow Jones is going to ( will ) move up another 300 points in the near future. "

I don't know if this is a good example Emotion: stick out tongue. Just give it a try.
Thanks, that is a very clear example! I guess the ones that bother me are some of the examples from the text book I use, such as, "Sue will/is going to graduate in June". According to the book that is a prediction, but my students argue that it is a prior plan of Sue's, and therefore should only be used with "going to". I don't know what to say to them...any advice?
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Alexanndra, when predicting the future, I would use 'going to + infinitive'
We can use going to + infinitive to predict the future based on present evidence.

For example: If you look at the sky and there are dark clouds, you might say:

"I think it's going to rain."

Or, you see someone totally drunk with a bottle of Vodka in his/her hands swaying from side to side in the street, you might say:

"I think he's going to fall."
We usually use will in the following ways:

1) For a simple future fact: Next year will be 2004.

2) For a spontaneous decision: Oh No! I forgot my credit card, I'll go back home and get it.

OK, thanks Chris! What do you think about the "Sue will/is going to graduate in June" sentence? Is it a simple future fact (will) or a prediction of the future based on evidence (going to)? I would say it is more the latter than the former, however, BOTH are correct! That's really my question, why are BOTH correct?
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I'd like to add to Chris's list:

3. Use will for promises. "Honey, I'll do it tomorrow."

Uses of 'going to' and 'will' overlap. It's really a matter of the speaker's perspective, if they even care to distiguish it.

"Sue passed the midterms! She'll graduate in June. Hurrah!"

"Sue is 23 years old. She lives in a brown house and goes to a nearby college. Sue is going to graduate in June."
I agree, "will" and "going to" do overlap, although if you really want to be strict with grammar, use "going to" if it's certain, and "will" plus probably, perhaps, etc, if it's less than certain. In spoken English, I believe going to and will can and must be considered one and the same. It may be a bit different with written English, though.
Both are possible because each has its own very slightly different shade of meaning, and both can fit the same situation. There's no rule that says you have to express a thought exactly the same way as someone else!

Here are my attempts to paraphrase the two sentences in question with a view to showing what the shades of meaning might be. (Other native speakers could have different ideas about this. There is no single correct answer.)

Sue is going to graduate in June.
(The signs are there. There's no doubt about it.)
This is more subjective, in the sense that we feel more involved in Sue's graduation. The focus is on Sue and on her plans.

Sue will graduate in June.
(if events stay on schedule.)
This is more objective, in the sense that we feel more removed from Sue. Others will be graduating at the same time, and the focus is less on Sue and more on the graduation which will take place in June.

There are no definite rules about these expressions of future time, only general principles. Emotion: smile

Will/be going to
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