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Future – will and going to

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  • maria
    Participant
    11 April, 2006 at 14:15
    • Total posts: 1

    Hi

    Does anyone know of any good activiites for teaching the difference between \"will\" and \"going to\" for future plans? I can find plenty for teaching one or the other, but not for teaching the difference.

    Thanks! Maria

    tefl-mike
    Participant
    23 April, 2006 at 15:38
    • Total posts: 6

    Reply To: Future – will and going to

    Hi Maria

    Try this one:

    Write down some different \"plans\" on pieces of paper:

    1 Visit your friend in Germany
    2 Take your car to the garage for repairs

    etc…

    Now think of a problem that would prevent the person from doing that plan, and write these down on separate pieces of paper:

    1 There is an airline strike
    2 The garage is closed today

    Put students in pairs and distribute the \"plans\" equally. One student starts by telling his/her partner the plan:

    \"I’m going to visit my friend in Germany at the weekend\".

    The other student then finds the correct problem associated with this plan and tells his partner:

    \"That’s nice, but I heard there’s an airline strike this week, and there are no flights until Monday\".

    The first student must then make a spontaneous decision, taking into account this problem.

    \"Okay, I will call my friend and tell him I can’t come this weekend\".

    Now swap roles and repeat.

    The scope of the activity depends very much on your students’ imagination, and on how controlled you want to make it – there’s no need to limit it to this simple exchange – students could develop the situation with further problems, discussion about the friend in Germany, and so on.

    Hope this is of some help.

    All the best

    Mike

    mika
    Participant
    4 August, 2008 at 12:04
    • Total posts: 2

    Reply To: Future – will and going to

    Hi Maria

    It is worth asking yourself whether the difference is important.

    Does it really matter if your students use going to when they should use will?

    Check out this site. You may find it useful:
    http://www.myelw.com

    Rgds
    Mika

    phil
    Participant
    4 August, 2008 at 18:19
    • Total posts: 55

    Reply To: Future – will and going to

    I think the question of whether it matters really depends on the communicative context.

    If either can be used without changing the meaning significantly, then fine:

    A "What are you doing for your holidays?"
    B "I’m going to visit Thailand."

    A "What are you doing for your holidays?"
    B "I’ll visit Thailand."

    No problem – we understand the intended meaning is the same in both cases – although B uses "will" in the second example, we can understand that he probably made the decision before the time of speaking.

    There may be cases, however, where the difference is important to the meaning that the speaker wants to convey:

    A: "Who wants to chair the meeting?"
    B: "I’m going to do it."

    A: "Who wants to chair the meeting?"
    B: "I’ll do it."

    In the first case here, speaker B’s intention may be to reassure everyone that he has taken on the responsibility and has done all the necessary preparation, so that everyone else can rest easy in this knowledge.

    In the second case, speaker B’s intention may be to try and impress the boss by volunteering on the spur of the moment.

    So the choice of "going to" or "will" can in fact be determined by the function of the speaker’s utterance or her intention, and may therefore be an important one.

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