Weekly Grammar Question: Will + Going to (making predictions)

A few weeks ago we looked at the difference between will and going to for making plans but what about predictions? How can we express our thoughts about what will happen in the future? Are will and going to the same? Are they completely different? Read on to find out.   The Rules: So, the rule is pretty simple: 1) We use will for predictions based on our opinions, without any evidence to back it up. e.g. “I think we will have flying cars by the year 2025”. (In this situation, the speaker is expressing their opinion about the future but they really have no concrete facts to support it)  2) We use going to for predictions backed up by evidence. e.g. “Ooh, look at those dark clouds above, I think it’s going to rain”. (Whereas in this situation, the speaker can see that the clouds above them are quite dark and therefore they think it’s going to rain. The dark clouds are the physical evidence that supports their opinion) 2) We could also use it in the negative. e.g. “Not I don’t think it’s going to rain, those clouds aren’t rain clouds.” The Reality: However, this is English and therefore rules are made to be broken and there are exceptions and oddities throughout our wonderful language, especially when it comes to the future. Take football for example. I’m Irish, our football team is awful, absolutely terrible, shockingly bad, and it has been awful for years and years. Spain, on the other hand, have an excellent football team and have won numerous competitions with some of the best players in the world. So, if Spain and Ireland were playing each other, the logical prediction would be: “Spain is going to win!” We have years of evidence to support out prediction. But what would … Read more

Weekly Grammar Question: Habits – past, present and annoying!

Habits, we all have them, both good and bad. Present habits are one of the first things you learn to express in English but there’s so much more to it than just the present simple. Take a look at some of the different examples and the explanations below provided us by the great team of teachers at our London 30+ English school. Read on and improve your English. LET’S START WITH THE EASY STUFF. I go to Tesco every day after work. (This is a nice and easy present simple habit. It’s something that happens routinely in the present. Remember that you can also grade the frequency of your habits by using an adverb) I rarely / sometimes / often / usually / always cook dinner at home. (The adverb of frequency comes before the main verb) I am rarely / sometimes / often / usually / always on time. (The adverb of frequency comes after “be” verb)   BUT WHAT ABOUT ANNOYING HABITS? My brother is always borrowing my clothes without asking. (In this situation, I used the present continuous to show that I am annoyed by this present habit. The “always” adds to the annoyance.) AND WHAT ABOUT TEMPORARY HABITS? At the moment, I’m drinking a lot of beer but when I leave England and return to my country, I’ll probably stop. (The present continuous suggests that this habit will not continue forever. It is temporary) BUT HOW DO WE EXPRESS HABITS IN THE PAST? I used to play football when I was younger but I gave up when I left school. (Used to + verb: expresses an action that was a habit in the past but no longer is) I didn’t use to eat vegetables but now I love them. (remember that the negative is spelled slightly … Read more