Are the differences between will and going to really all that significant? Read on and find out.
I’ve been watching The Big Bang Theory so often lately that I guess I’m becoming a geek myself, but, honestly, how could I imagine that those adorable nerds would inspire me to write about will and going to?
Today, for example, I sat through six entire episodes trying to channel my admittedly tired and over strained attentional resources to both the plot and the language the characters used to talk about the future.
Why the future?
Long story short: I see more and more native speakers using the present continuous, will and going tofairly interchangeably and I wanted some sort of evidence to back me up.
So here are nine scenes from the delightfully funny The Big Bang Theory, of which at least six go against what the will and going to rules we traditionally teach our students : will for prediction, going to for intentions, plans or predictions based on present evidence and present progressive for arrangements. I hope the scenes make some sort of sense whether or not you’re familiar with the show.
There were fifteen scenes originally and, across the board, going to stood out as the standard form the five characters used to make predictions – far more than will. This is not a scientific, corpus-based study, of course, and I don’t want to generalize beyond the register used in this particular show, the writers’ styles and so on.
But when I intuitively wince at the thought of splitting hairs over will and going to, maybe I’m on to something.
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