Will vs Going To

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,256 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 25 in Grammar
Read the following IELTS General Training Task 1 question:

You are living in an English-speaking country and want to arrange some English lessons to help with your job.  You notice an advertisement for an English teacher who lives nearby.  

Write a letter to the local teacher.  In your letter:

  • explain where you saw the advertisement
  • say what and why you want to study
  • suggest where and when you would like to study
Now, read part of a paragraph written by an IELTS candidate in response to this question:
I need some help with my English speaking and writing skills. I think this is going to help me with my job interviews going forward. I believe effective communication is a key to success. 
Do you notice a problem?  

The problem is in the use of the words 'going to' above.  When do we use 'going to' and when do we use 'will'.  Consider the difference between these two sentences:

1. I think English lessons are going to help me with my job interviews going forward. 
2. I think English lessons will help me with my job interviews going forward. 

In sentence 1, going to is used to make a statement about what will happen in the future.  If a student takes English lessons, then, in time (weeks/months/years) this is going to help him/her with job interviews. Point: the process takes time.  

In sentence 2, will is used to talk about a future fact (studying English) that is believed to be true about the future (will help me with job interviews).

In the case of the student's sentence, the idea being conveyed is in the sense of a future fact believed to be true about the future so will should have been used. 


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