ICAO Level 4 Structure: Plans and Intentions – Basic Structures

“Will fly”, “are going to fly” and “are flying” are some of the most popular grammar forms that can be used to talk about plans and intentions. The differences between them strongly depend on the context or a speaker’s intention. Let’s check these three structures and make sure you know how to use them correctly regularly 🙂

Simple Future Tense – Will

“Will” should be used to talk about plans that decided while speaking. It’s a spontaneous decision. You didn’t intend to do it earlier and, therefore, you didn’t make any arrangements.  Take a look at the examples:

‘You’ll hold short a bit longer.’

‘I’ll get back to you very shortly.’

present continuous and will future simple tense

Be Going To

“Going To” is used to talk about plans that were made before the moment of speaking. Check this out:

‘We’re going to try to fix this problem now.’

‘I’m going to wear my little black dress but firstly I have to iron it.’

PRO TIP: Do you remember my blog post about describing pictures? Now I can give you one of the best pro tips for a speaking part – use ‘going to’ form to describe what is happening in the picture.

Present Continuous

We use it when the future is planned; moreover, we made some arrangements and the degree of certainty about the future action is high. Compare the following cases:

‘I’m seeing Michael at 8 o’clock on Monday.’ -> it implies I’ve already contacted him, he agreed to the date and time. Our meeting is clearly arranged. On the other hand…

‘I’m going to see Michael.’ -> I plan to meet him; however, it’s just a plan and no actions could have been made yet.

Other examples:

‘We are getting ready to land shortly.’

English grammar - will and going to


“Gonna” is an informal structure of ‘going to’. Please don’t use it interchangeably with ‘going to’. It’s not a synonym; it’s a structure which is reserved solely for an informal speech and it won’t be graded high during any ICAO exam. Therefore, ‘I’m gonna be an A321 captain soon’ may be okay while talking to a friend but try to avoid it during a formal assessment.


This short summary should give you a good and solid base about the most common grammar forms to talk about plans and intentions. Which tense do you use the most often? Do you think you may have a tendency to overuse it? If yes, try to modify your speaking routines; the bigger variety of grammar forms, the more your speech is listener-friendly 🙂

Plans and intentions - grammar practice