The Grammar GuideVerbs"(am/are/is/was/were) not going to" vs "will not"

"(am/are/is/was/were) not going to" vs "will not"

"(am/are/is/was/were) not going to" vs "will not"

In English, we can talk about the near future or make predictions using:

  • subject + be (conjugated) + going to + verb

For example: He's going to swim today.

When we negate this structure, we place "not" before "going": He is not going to swim today.

But using this from too often can make your writing clunky. It's often clearer and less verbose to use the simple future tense:

  • subject + will + not + verb

This gives us: He will not swim today. or, in its contracted form, He won't swim today.

In English, there are many ways to talk about the future. There are four future tenses, but we also sometimes use present tenses in different structures to talk about the near future. One common way to talk about the near future or to make predictions is to use the present continuous form of "go." We can also negate these sentences.

  • I'm not going to get up early.
  • You're not going to get away with this.
  • She isn't going to school today.
  • We aren't going to argue about this anymore.
  • They aren't going to visit Grandma.

This verb structure implies that the event a) will likely happen in the near future, or b) depends on some condition in the present. It can also be a way to make predictions.

When we write, we want to make sure we are saying things clearly and concisely. Extra words can affect the flow and clarity of our sentences. While we may use this form to speak about the future, it can read clunky or sticky in writing. Also, negating these sentences sometimes requires extra emphasis.

Most of the time, we can switch be + not going to for the simple future tense will + not + verb. Let's look at what this means for our examples:

  • I won't get up early.
  • You won't get away with this.
  • She won't go to school today.
  • We won't argue about this anymore.
  • They won't visit Grandma.

In general, this structure is clearer and sounds more decisive.

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