Talking about future plans is challenging in English because we use different verb forms and tenses. In this post you’ll learn how to talk about your plans for the weekend. You’ll learn when to use the present continuous, be going to, and will. You’ll also learn why ‘gonna’ is NOT a proper or acceptable written word!
How do you answer these questions?
What are your plans for the weekend?
What are you doing this weekend?
Before you answer the above questions, you need to ask yourself some questions:
1) Do you have definite plans? Have you already made arrangements to do something?
Use the present continuous! This tense is used when you know exactly what you are doing on the weekend (notice that the present continuous is used in the question, “What are you doing this weekend?”):
I‘m working this weekend.
My sister is getting married on Saturday!
I‘m going shopping with my friends.
We‘re having a party at our place Saturday night!
I‘m meeting my parents for dinner tomorrow.
I‘m taking my cat to the vet for his annual checkup!
I‘m going to the U2 concert!
(*note that this is NOT the ‘be going to‘ future! This is simply the verb ‘go’ used in the present continuous!)
In the above examples, it is not necessary to use future time words (this weekend, on Sunday, tonight, tomorrow) because we already know from the question that you are talking about the future. If it is not clear from the context of the conversation that you are talking about the future, then you need to use future time words.
2) Have you decided to do something or do you intend to do something, but you don’t have definite plans yet?
Use the be going to future. It is used to express a plan. Think of be going to as a modal verb – it is always used with another verb.
I‘m going to clean my entire house this weekend!
I‘m going to finish my book report and then meet my friends for dinner!
We are going to look for a new car!
You’ll notice that I have NOT used the horrible, horrible word ‘gonna‘ in the above examples. This is because ‘gonna’ is NOT a proper English word! It is the sound that native speakers make when they say ‘going to’ (in the be going to future and before another verb) but it is NOTa proper written word. In fact, when you write this word, it makes you look unprofessional and uneducated.
I don’t know why people learning English like to use this word so much – they use it more than native speakers do! It’s a very bad habit that you need to get out of. (When native speakers write this word, it is usually when they are imitating what someone said.)
3) Are you still thinking about what you want to do this weekend?
Use the future simple (‘will‘) for a decision you make at the moment of speaking (the moment someone asks you “What are your plans for the weekend?”)
Remember, will is like a modal verb and is used with another verb.
I don’t know what I’m doing this weekend. I think I’ll call Anne and see what she’s doing.
I think I’ll try to get a ticket for the U2 concert on Sunday.
*Will is also used in the 1st conditional (the future possible/real conditional):
If the weather is nice this weekend, I‘ll take my family to the park.
If I finish my homework by Saturday night, I‘ll go to Amber’s party.
*Shall is not used in North American English.
Now you can answer the question “What are you plans for the weekend?” or “What are you doing this weekend?“
Thanks Melaniee it’s more useful & meaningful that all informations about ” going to ” & ” v + ing ” it’s got it now .
Thank you so much!!And I want to ask a question:
”A number of college students are going (A.camping B. to camp) this weekend.”
–So both selections are correct,right?
This is a bit different. You are talking about two different things.
A. ‘Camping’ (as a gerund) is an activity. It is usually used with ‘go’:
“A number of college students are going camping this weekend.”
= They are going somewhere where they will put up tents and sleep in them; they are going to do this activity (camping).
B. ‘Camp’ is not usually used as a verb with ‘go’, because ‘camp’ is also a noun.
“A number of college students are going to camp this weekend.”
= Most English speakers would interpret ‘camp’ in this sentence as a noun. When someone says “I’m going to camp this summer” we interpret ‘camp’ as a location, not an activity. It’s place for young people to stay for a long period of time in the summer where they can do different activities (it’s also known as ‘summer camp’).
So, no, both selections are not correct. They mean different things. Sentence A is the best sentence.
I’m doing a Celta course and have just come to your site and I’m finding it very useful. Thanks
hi Melanie,I know you are on vacation now,but may I ask a question?
I read in “English Grammar in use” book about question tag,It says that “after Let’s…we use shall we”.
example: Let’s take a walk,shall we?
Above,you said that shall was not used in North American English,so what do you use in this sentence?
tks so much
Good question! As it says in the book, ‘shall we’ is the tag used after ‘Let’s.’ That’s it. That’s the only use of ‘shall’ in American English, and even then that question tag is rarely used. I wouldn’t worry about using ‘shall’ at all in American English.
Thanks so much Melanie,I noticed it because I usually heard Jack Sparrow use “shall we” in Pirates of the Caribbean :), have a nice vacation Melanie!
Which one is correct..?
Whar are your planning for the weekend.
whar are your plans for weekend.
Because verb plan is not use in present simple verbs for future
‘Plan’ is a noun and a verb.
1. “What are you planning for the weekend?” = plan [verb]
Grammatically correct but not natural.
2. “What are your plans for the weekend?” = plan [noun]
Correct & natural. The verb is ‘be,’ not ‘plan.’
how should I say?
There are going to be a lot people at the party
or There will be a lot of people at the party
Are there going to be a lot of people at the party?
or Will there be a lot of people at the party?
Hmmm … good question, Darek!
In this case, we don’t know for sure how many people are going to be at the party, so we’re just guessing. We can’t control how many people are going to show up. Maybe we invited a lot of people, so we expect a lot of people will be there, however, we just don’t know.
In this case, if it’s something out of your control & something that is not definite, you can use both ‘be going to’ & ‘will.’ All your sentences/questions are correct.
thank you so much Melanie , merci beaucoup, dziękuję bardzo ;-)
1) Do you have definite plans? Have you already made arrangements to do something?
for answer, can we say for example: i want to continue my education in doctorate level.
can we use want for descibing future plans?
“I want to continue my education at the doctorate level.”
In this case you are not describing future plans. You are just describing a feeling, a desire or wish that you have.
Do you have any plans right now to study at the doctorate level? Have you applied to any universities? Have you been accepted? Those are definite plans. Wanting something is not a definite plan.
HELLO MELAINE I’m from mexico and I have just found your web page and it’s very interesting and usuful. But I have a question How can you use the simple present for future?
That’s a very good question! Here is the answer:
thanks a lot
Thank u so much..
That was great information. Thanks. I want to ask a question:
What should we prefer for a future plan? Will + 1st verb or Present continuous if both the options are given in the exams, e.g. The President ___________ India tomorrow morning. (will visit, is visiting, is going to visit)
Please tell the preference. Thanks
In formal situations, like a press briefing (when the President’s spokesperson speaks to the media) press release, or newspaper article, I notice that ‘will’ is used:
“The President will visit India tomorrow.”
However, in informal situation, like speaking to friends & family, the present continuous is used:
“The President is going to India tomorrow.” [NOT “going to visit”]
“The President is visiting India tomorrow.”
Hi Melanie, can you please help me? Which one is correct.
Are you doing anything for lunch tomorrow?
Will you do anything for lunch tomorrow?
I think the first one is right.
You are correct, Isaac! Your first sentence is right:
“Are you doing anything for lunch tomorrow?”
You are asking the person if they have definite plans for lunch tomorrow.