will or are going to

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Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi, everyone.

The following is from New Concept English 2, L.G. Alexander, Longman.

We often prefer will to be going to when we decide to do something at the moment of speaking and we often prefer be going to to will for intentions, plans and arrangements. Use will or the correct form of be going to in these sentences.

1. I’m not sure of the way. I will ask that policeman over there.

2. Another team of climbers will set out for the Himalayas next month.

3. It’s our son’s birthday next week so we are going to have a party.


I have no problem with the answer keys to No. 1 and No. 3, but I don’t understand the answer key to No. 2. I think the answer to No. 2 should be are going to. What do you say?

Thanks in advance.
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It can be very hard to decide which of these two to use, and often they are both very similar, but I agree 'is going to' or 'are going to' is quite as natural in sentence 2. It doesn't illustrate what they say about the choice.


    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Note also the two words "often" and "prefer" in this "guidance" - it is not a rule and as etb indicated it "often" doesn't matter or it is the speaker's (style) choice.
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