Exercise 3

Fill in the gaps with the most appropriate future forms: present continuous, will or be going to . Use the verbs in brackets and choose the present continuous where possible.

Dialogue 1

Ben: What 1 (do) after class?

George: Well, I 2  (walk) home and when I arrive home 3 I (do) my homework and cook dinner. And you?

Ben: I 4 (play) tennis with Monica and Jane at 7:30, but we need another player. Why don't you come?

George: With Monica and Jane? OK, I 5  (come). We can play doubles.

Ben: OK, no problem. But be prepared to lose; I 6 (play) my best tennis.


Dialogue 2

Tom: 7 (eat) that last hotdog?

Lisa: No, why? Do you want it?

Tom: Yes, please.

Lisa: But you 8 (have) dinner with your father in an hour.

Tom: Yes, but we 9 (eat) in that new fancy restaurant, and they serve very little food.

Lisa: OK, I 10 (heat) the hotdog in the microwave for you.



Present continuous (future arrangements)

We often use the present continuous to talk about the future, especially about future plans when we have decided a time and a place with other people. We normally use a future time expression, e.g. tomorrow, next week, at 7, etc.

  • I’m meeting Sally at 7. (=I have talked to her and we have arranged to meet.)
  • I’m flying to New York tomorrow morning. (=I have the ticket.)
  • We’re getting married next July. (=We have decided it and we have probably already made reservations for the restaurant, etc.)

The present continuous for future arrangements is very common with verbs of travelling, and when we are meeting people.

  • I’m leaving very early tomorrow. I’m taking the 7.30 train. 
  • I’m playing golf with Jack next Saturday. Would you like to come?
  • I’m seeing the dentist after class. 


Present continuous vs be going to

We can normally use the present continuous or be going to to talk about future plans.

  • I’m leaving very early tomorrow.
  • I’m going to leave very early tomorrow.

But we prefer using the present continuous when we have made arrangements (i.e. decided a place and time with somebody else). When use be going to, we put the emphasis on our intention to do something.

  • I’m going to study for the exams tomorrow. (=it’s my intention)
  • I’m leaving at 8 tomorrow. (=it’s an arrangement)
  • ‘Your car is dirty.’ ‘I know. I’m going to wash it tomorrow.’ (=it’s my intention, but I haven’t arranged to do it)


will for decisions

Use will for decisions that you take at the moment of speaking (instant decisions).

  • ‘Oh, we don’t have sugar.’ ‘Don’t worry, I’ll buy some.’


be going to or will for predictions

We use be going to or will (NOT the present continuous) to make predictions about the future. (⇒ See Grammar points » A2 Grammar » Will vs be going to – Future)

  • I think he’ll win the election.
  • The doctor said I’m going to have a girl.