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Going-to future is a term used to describe an English sentence structure referring to the future, making use of the verb phrase to be going to. Swedish has a similar construction, though not in the form of a participle, as in Jag kommer att ... (literally, I come to ..., but always translated as, I am going to ...) Some Celtic languages use this exact construct (i.e. going + verb) to represent the future tense. French, too, uses go (aller) + verb construction as a future tense.
The going to future originated by the extension of the spatial sense of the verb 'go' to a temporal sense (a common change - the same phenomenon can be seen in the preposition before). The original construction involved physical movement with an intention, such as I am going [outside] to harvest the crop. The location later became unnecessary, and the expression was reinterpreted to represent a near future.
The colloquial form gonna is a weakened form of going to. This now forms a clear separation of the locative and temporal senses of the expression, as a sentence like *I'm gonna the beach is ungrammatical.
subject + be (in the proper form for the subject) + going to + verb + any other information
Going-to future is used when the speaker wishes to express
- previously formed intention: "I am going to look into the matter thoroughly." (If will was used here, it would imply a presently-formed spontaneous decision.)
- certainty about the future based on evidence or fact from the present or the speaker's opinion: "If you don't hasten, you are going to get caught by the police and hauled back to gaol." "Woeful tidings I bring – the clouds I have seen just behind this mountain, but heading our way, indicate that our humble dwellings are going to be swept away by the impending storm." (Here, will can be substituted for going to without changing the sentences' meaning.)
- will future
- grammatical tense
- grammatical aspect
- Future Tense
- Complete descriptions of the English Tenses
- Exercises and explanation