Is there any difference between "they'll" and "they're going to" in the context below or are they completely interchangeable?

I made a big fool of myself at the office Christmas party, so I'm just a little nervous about how they'll/they're going to react when they see me again.

  • 1
    There is no difference. Oct 30, 2020 at 13:55
  • Compare ell.stackexchange.com/questions/225345/…
    – Stuart F
    Jul 31, 2023 at 10:46
  • There are sometimes differences over probability, timescale, and other factors. But here it's all speculative anyway (you could use "they may/might/could react" and none of it would make a significant difference).
    – Stuart F
    Mar 27 at 14:55

2 Answers 2


As Jeff pointed out, there is no difference whatsoever, though "be going to" would sound colloquial and would rather be used in conversational English.

Yes, they are interchangeable.

  • 1
    They'll is colloquial too! Oct 30, 2020 at 16:46
  • Yes. But not as much as "they are going to" is, right?
    – Alex TheBN
    Oct 30, 2020 at 16:47
  • Contractions are always regarded as colloquial. It would be 'they will' in formal English. Oct 30, 2020 at 16:58
  • Google Ngram Is this graph relevant here? Oct 30, 2020 at 16:59
  • Ngrams is not a reliable source. It counts errors as well
    – Alex TheBN
    Oct 30, 2020 at 17:01

There is a difference between 'They'll' and 'they're going to'.

They're going to start a business. - The decision has been made before the moment of speaking.

They'll start a business.- The decision has been made at the time of speaking.

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