Reply to "Going to or will"

Yama posted:

According to what you said,

In the following question, I should use "will"  instead of "going to".



The doctors predicted that the patient ............... live for a month.

a) will     b) is going to


However, "going" sounds better.

Normally, doctors wouldn't predict something like that out of nothing.


The same applies to the original question. You're implying that using the subject "Meteorologists" is the same as using any other subject like: "Tom" , "Dick" or "Harry". That's why I respectfully disagree with you.


I really thank you for your reply. I wish to know what you or anyone else think of my comment.

Thanks again.

Hi, Yama,

 Allow me to clear two points here:

  1. The way native speakers use 'will' and 'be going to' is totally different from ours. A native speaker won't bother himself thinking whether to use 'will' or 'be going to' in a real life situation. Betty Azar says:

"Will and be going to mean the same when they make predictions about the future (prediction = a statement about something the speaker thinks will be true or will occur in the future)"

(a)    According to the weather report, it will be cloudy tomorrow.

(b)    According to the weather report, it is going to be cloudy tomorrow.


  1. Our curriculum is based on Michael Swan 3rd edition, and Swan does differentiate between 'will' and 'be going to' depending on what is called 'evidence' or 'outside reality'.

The editor of Longman says:

“We prefer will for predictions when there is not such obvious outside evidence — when we are talking more about what is inside our heads: what we know, or believe, or have calculated.” (Swan, p 191) Forecasters themselves base their predictions on calculations. They sometimes use will, sometimes going to. They might say, for example, "It's going to be a rainy day tomorrow. Temperatures will be in the low 20s and there will be showers throughout the day." In a forecast, will is shorter and a bit more formal than going to, so those may also be reasons why it is used.


 My comment: Your first example is a kind of reported speech. IMO, the suitable form with the verb 'predict' here is 'will'. Based on my experience,  'predict and expect' are mostly connected with 'will' in our exams. You say 'meteorologists' represents evidence, but I don't agree.  Here are two similar examples from our books:

- By the year 2023, scientists are predicting that we will be able to send text messages by the power of thought.

- Scientists think that the shortage of water will get better in the future.


In your second example above, I would choose 'would', but since it isn't provided, I would go with 'will'. Matters of life and death aren't determined by doctors' words. What if the patient died before, during or after this month? Do you think doctors have a concrete evidence that he he will certainly live for a month?!

BTW, If you have the model answer to your first example, you will see that the correct choice is: 'will'.

Last edited by ahmed_btm