If you speak English, you most likely make use of the English future tense every day. And chances are, if you're not an English scholar or planning on teaching English, you don't know how to explain how each of the seven tenses making up the future tense system are formed and used (or even that there are seven variations!). For the average person; there is one future tense and thats all there is to know. If you want to know more (or plan on teaching English) then knowledge of each of the seven minor tenses that make up the past tense is required. The seven future tenses are: present simple, present continuous, BGI, future simple, future continuous, future perfect and future perfect continuous.

This simple guide will tell you everything you need to know about the third of the future tenses, the BGI tense.

When is the BGI tense used?

The BGI tense is used as when:

- Referring to plans and intentions e.g.

She is going to enter the Comrades Marathon; I am going to buy a car; They are going to do it

- Referring to predictions (that usually have present evidence) e.g.

It's going to be a long day; Its going to fall; They are going to be late

How is the BGI tense formed?

The name indicates the formation:

(B = Auxiliary verb "be") + (G = Going) + (I = Infinitive)

Tenses have three variations: Affirmative, Negative and Question

-Affirmative: Subject + auxiliary verb "be" + going + infinitive

I am going to eat this sandwich

-Negative: Subject + auxiliary verb "be" + not + going + infinitive

I am not going to eat this sandwich

- Question: Auxiliary verb "be" + subject + going + infinitive

Am I going to eat this sandwich?

Note: An infinitive is to + the base form of a verb (for more, see The Simple Guide to Infinitives). The present forms of the auxiliary verb "be" (am, is and are) are used with the BGI tense as "going to" carries the future reference.

Keep it simple

It may seem that there is no simple way of learning the English tense system, but by taking one minor tense at a time and practicing its formation and different uses, one will find that the tense system can be learnt fairly quickly. Knowledge of parts of speech and the rules to form each tense is important in the beginning, and once these are fully remembered, practice will see the entire system becoming much easier to understand and use naturally and correctly.