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Hello and welcome back to Business English Made Easy. I’m your host, Victoria, and in today’s episode, we’ll explore three commonly used future forms: ‘will’, ‘going to’, and the ‘present continuous’. These forms help us express various shades of certainty, intention, and planning. By the end of this episode, you’ll feel more confident in choosing the right form for your business conversations.
But before we move on, don’t forget, we have a fantastic worksheet that complements today’s episode. Just visit lvlinguistics.be/episode3 to access it. This worksheet will help you practice what you learn today and solidify your understanding.
Let’s start with ‘will’.
The word ‘will’ is often our go-to when we’re making spontaneous decisions, predictions, or promises.
When we suddenly decide to do something while we are speaking, we use ‘will’. These are decisions that we make in the moment, without premeditation. For example, you’re talking with a friend about a movie you both want to see, and you suddenly say, I will get the tickets. In this case, ‘will’ shows a decision you’ve made right in the course of the conversation.
We also use ‘will’ when we are predicting or guessing something about the future. When we think something is likely to happen based on our own beliefs or feelings, we use ‘will’. For instance, I think it will rain tomorrow, or I believe robots will replace some jobs in the future. Here, ‘will’ projects our anticipation or prediction about future events.
‘Will’ can be used to make promises, as well. When you assure someone that something will (or will not) happen in the future, you use ‘will’. For example, I will call you as soon as I get home, or I will not tell anyone your secret. These are promises about future actions.
Moving on, we have ‘going to’.
Now, ‘going to’ is a touch more specific. We use this form when we’ve already decided or planned something. Think of it as a bridge between a mere idea and a solid plan.
For example, if you’ve been discussing launching a new product and have taken steps in that direction, you might say, We’re going to launch a new software application next month. Here, there’s more intention and planning behind the statement.
Another instance would be predicting something based on current evidence. Imagine looking out the window and seeing dark clouds. It’s going to rain, you might declare.
Here are a few more examples that will hopefully help you decide when to use ‘going to’:
|‘Our company is going to expand into the Asian market next year.’||This speaks of a future business plan.|
|‘You are going to attend the strategy meeting tomorrow.’||This informs about a future action or responsibility.|
|‘They are going to hire more developers.’||This communicates an upcoming decision.|
Lastly, there’s the ‘present continuous’.
The present continuous, despite its name, can also be used to talk about future plans and arrangements, especially when they’re already decided upon and somewhat official. This tense indicates a sense of immediacy and certainty about the future.
- She is arriving at 5 pm. (There is a scheduled event, possibly a flight or train she is on.)
- We are meeting our business partners next week. (There’s a fixed arrangement; perhaps the meeting is already in the calendar.)
Let’s look at a few more scenarios:
When a business trip is set in your calendar, you might say, I’m flying to London next week for a conference. The plan is confirmed, and preparations are likely underway.
If there’s a scheduled event or a meeting, you’d say, We’re holding a shareholders’ meeting next Tuesday.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Use ‘will’ for spontaneous decisions, promises, offers, refusals, predictions, or when you’re unsure about the future.
- Use ‘going to’ when there’s a clear intention and some planning behind the statement, or when making predictions based on current evidence.
- Use the ‘present continuous’ when plans are scheduled or fixed, in other words a definite arrangement, or when talking about the near future.
Now, let’s imagine a few business scenarios to see these future forms in action.
Scenario 1: You’re in a meeting, and a colleague asks about the annual report. You totally forgot, but you decide there and then to handle it. You might say, I will take care of the annual report and ensure it’s ready by Friday.
Scenario 2: After months of research and feedback collection, your team has decided to revamp the company website. During a presentation, you might declare, We’re going to introduce a more user-friendly interface based on customer feedback.
Scenario 3: Your marketing team has been working tirelessly on a new campaign, and the launch date is set. In an update meeting, you can announce, We’re launching the new marketing campaign on the 15th of next month.
As you navigate through your business day, you’ll likely use all these forms interchangeably, depending on the context. The key is to understand the subtle differences in intention and planning each form conveys.
Remember, practice builds confidence! I strongly recommend trying to incorporate these forms into your daily conversations and noticing how they’re used in the business communications you encounter.
And as always, for more practice and to test your understanding, make sure you download the worksheet for this episode at lvlinguistics.be/episode3. The exercises will help you cement your knowledge and ensure you’re ready to use these forms confidently in your next business interaction.
Thank you for joining me today on Business English Made Easy. Stay curious and keep learning. Goodbye!