I heard of some native English speakers say some thing like "you're gonna" or "you got to" a lot, I often don't distinguish them.

Consider this example, a English teacher says

when you begin a sentence with an adverb clause

and would he say

you're gonna put a comma in that sentence.


you got to put a comma in that sentence.


both work?

They sounds so similar that I often can't distinguish which one the speak is actually saying.

I am aware that "you're gonna" is a colloquial way to say "you're going to" and "got to" sometime means "have to".

Google Ngram shows that both of them are in use.

In practice, for instance, those two examples pretty much seem to mean the same thing.

Is my understanding correct?

  • It depends on the context. Sometimes they mean the same thing. When a cop tells you, "You're gonna get out of the car now" it's a command, just like "You gotta get out of the car now." But if I say, "I'm gonna go now" (I'm leaving now) it doesn't have quite the same meaning as "I gotta go now" (there is a reason that I have to leave). – SarahT Apr 8 at 5:21

I think you might be mistaken.

  • "Gonna" is a contraction of "going to".

  • Some people also say "gotta" as a contraction of "got to".

"You are going to" is a statement that you definitely will do something; "you have got to" is a statement saying that you must, or you should. Saying "you're going to" in place of "you have got to" sounds like a threat, because it is an instruction of what you are going to do, rather than what you should do of your own volition. Likewise, using the contractions, to most people, would sound threatening, or at best, rude / arrogant.

It's possible you have misheard "gotta" as "gonna", otherwise it must be some regional, colloquial use that I'm not aware of.

In the context of your example, only the following makes sense:

When you begin a sentence with an adverb clause you have got to put a comma in that sentence.

Some people might say this as:

When you begin a sentence with an adverb clause you gotta put a comma in that sentence.

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  • Thank you. In the context in my OP, it is supposed to use "gotta" or "got to" rather than "gonna", right? – WXJ96163 Apr 8 at 11:35
  • What is an OP? – Old Brixtonian Apr 8 at 13:55
  • @OldBrixtonian OP = "original post", or "original poster". – Astralbee Apr 8 at 14:51
  • @WXJ96163 yes, i've added that to my answer – Astralbee Apr 8 at 14:52
  • @Astralbee Oh yes! I knew that once! Thank you. – Old Brixtonian Apr 8 at 21:54

The first sentence could be read as "You will put a comma in that sentence" whereas the second one could mean "You must put a comma in that sentence".

The first one is not as strong a command as the second one.

The tone used could also change the meaning.

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Interesting that the first two answers both understand gonna as a veiled command but, if I read them right, have opposite opinions of its strength relative to gotta.

I read gonna here as a prediction. If a strange dog jumps at you, you're gonna flinch. If I show you my favorite waterfall, you're gonna say wow.

You're gonna include a comma because it's the natural thing to do, or perhaps because I know your writing style, not because anyone says you gotta.

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