Going To in the Past Tense

Past Tense - Lesson #15

It is more common to use "going to + verb" to talk about the future, but we can make sentences in the past tense.

These sentences talk about things that were planned but did not really happen. For example,
  • I was going to see a movie.
    (Really, I did not see the movie, but it was my plan.)

  • He was going to exercise.
    (He did not exercise, but he had planned to exercise.)

  • They were going to come.
    (Really, they did not come, but they had intended to come.)
This sentence can be very useful in daily life because this kind of situation happens a lot.

Here is the sentence pattern.

Subject + was/were + going to + verb…
  • I was going to watch a movie.
  • He was going to call his mother.
  • They were going to visit.
It is very common to tell why you did not do your plan. We just need to add "but + reason/excuse".

Subject + was/were + going to + verb, but…
  • I was going to watch the movie, but I fell asleep.
  • She was going to call her mother, but she forgot.
  • He was going to exercise, but he was too tired after work.
  • They were going to come, but they had to stay late at work.
  • We were going to eat out, but it started raining so we stayed in.
  • They were going to get a new dog, but then Mary got pregnant, so they decided not to.
This is a very useful sentence and it can help you naturally express yourself in English. It is definitely worth your time to study it.

Example Sentences
  • I was going to study art in college, but I decided to study engineering instead.
  • I was going to go to the party, but I felt sick.
  • I was going to buy a new guitar, but I didn't have enough money.
  • He was going to bring a cake to the party, but he totally forgot.
  • Nick was going to play with us, but he hurt his back working out yesterday.
  • She was going to bring her sister, but her sister got sick.
  • The store was going to open last week, but they delayed the opening until next week.
  • They were going to get married, but something happened.
  • The children were going to give a presentation about dinosaurs, but then they changed their minds and decided to give a presentation about sharks.
English Conversation 1

A) I thought you were going to come to the party last night.
B) I was going to come, but I fell asleep watching TV.
A) You are only 25, but you act like you are 55!
B) I know. It's just that I have been so busy lately.
A) I understand. I was going to call you, but I figured you were sleeping.
B) You know me very well.

English Conversation 2

A) I was going to call you last night.
B) Why?
A) There was a great concert in the park. I wanted to see if you wanted to come.
B) I heard about that. I was going to come, but I didn't.
A) Why didn't you?
B) I'm not sure.
A) Well, who told you about it?
B) My sister was there. She called me.

Learn to speak better English by simply doing this basic practice exercise. First, complete the sentences with your own answers, and then practice making your own sentences.

Tip: Say the sentences aloud. This will help you practice speaking and improve your English fluency. It will help your tongue get used to speaking English and making English sounds.

I was going to _______________, but _______________.
We were going to _______________, but _______________.
He was going to _______________, but _______________.
She was going to _______________, but _______________.
They were going to _______________, but _______________.
The company was going to _______________, but _______________.
The boy was going to _______________, but _______________.
The girls were going to _______________, but _______________.