#Will #Going to or/Will #Will other uses #Shall
Some people have been taught that 'will' is 'the future' in English. This is not correct. Sometimes when we talk about the future we cannot use 'will'. Sometimes when we use 'will' we are not talking about the future.
We can use 'will' to talk about future events we believe to be certain.
The sun will rise over there tomorrow morning.
Next year, I'll be 50.
That plane will be late. It always is.
There won't be any snow. I'm certain. It's too warm.
Often we add 'perhaps', 'maybe', 'probably', 'possibly' to make the belief less certain.
I'll probably come back later.
He'll possibly find out when he sees Jenny.
Maybe it will be OK.
Perhaps we'll meet again some day.
We often use 'will' with 'I think' or 'I hope'.
I think I'll go to bed now.
I think she'll do well in the job.
I hope you'll enjoy your stay.
I hope you won't make too much noise.
We use 'will' at the moment we make a new decision or plan. The thought has just come into our head.
Bye. I'll phone you when I get there.
I'll answer that.
I won't tell him. I promise
#Going to or Will
When we want to talk about future facts or things we believe to be true about the future, we use 'will'.
The President will serve for four years.
The boss won't be very happy.
I'm sure you'll like her.
I'm certain he'll do a good job.
If we are not so certain about the future, we use 'will' with expressions such as 'probably', 'possibly', 'I think', 'I hope'.
I hope you'll visit me in my home one day.
She'll probably be a great success.
I'll possibly come but I may not get back in time.
I think we'll get on well.
If you are making a future prediction based on evidence in the present situation, use 'going to'.
Not a cloud in the sky. It's going to be another warm day.
Look at the queue. We're not going to get in for hours.
The traffic is terrible. We're going to miss our flight.
Be careful! You're going to spill your coffee.
At the moment of making a decision, use 'will'. Once you have made the decision, talk about it using 'going to'.
I'll call Jenny to let her know. Sarah, I need Jenny's number. I'm going to call her about the meeting.
I'll come and have a drink with you but I must let Harry know. Harry, I'm going to have a drink with Simon.
#Will other uses
Older textbooks often refer to 'will' as 'the future tense' and this has confused a lot of learners.
It is important to remember that when we talk about the future we cannot always use 'will' and that when we use 'will' we are not always talking about the future.
Here 'will' is clearly referring to the future.
If I speak to her, I'll tell her about it.
I'll probably visit Sue when I go to Oxford.
Next birthday she'll be 32. Or so she says.
In these examples, however, 'will' is referring to events happening at the present.
The car won't start.
If that's the phone, I'll get it.
Will you have another cup of coffee?
When we use 'will' referring to the present, the idea being expressed is usually one of 'showing willingness' or 'will power'.
My baby won't stop crying. I've tried everything and I'm really exhausted.
I am the boss. You will do as I say.
I need quiet to write this but he will keep on talking to me. I wish he would leave me alone.
We use 'will' for requests, orders, invitations and offers.
Will you give me a hand?
Will you please take a seat?
Will you have some cake?
I'll help you.
We use 'will' to make promises or threats.
I'll do it at once.
I'll phone him back immediately.
I won't forget this.
I'll get my own back some day.
We use 'will' for habit.
A cat will always find a warm place to sleep.
My car won't go any faster than this.
We use 'will' for deduction.
I expect he'll want us to get on with it.
The phone's ringing. That will be Mark.
Look again at all of these examples of 'will'. They are all to do with the present or are 'timeless'.
We don't use 'Shall' very frequently in modern English, particularly in American English.
It is used to make offers and suggestions and to ask for advice.
What time shall we meet?
Shall we vote on it now?
What dress shall I wear?
Shall I open the window?
You only really need to know that about 'shall' in modern English. Read the rest of this only if you want to know more about how some older speakers still use 'shall'.
Formerly, in older grammar, 'shall' was used as an alternative to 'will' with 'I' and 'we'. Today, 'will' is normally used. When we do use 'shall', it has an idea of a more personal, subjective future.
I shall go to see the boss and I shall ask him to explain this decision.
Notice that the negative of 'shall' can be 'shall not' or 'shan't' – though the second one is now very rare in American English.
I don't like these people and I shall not go to their party.
I shan't object if you go without me.