This expression shows that we were not planning to do something, but for some reason, we did it in the end.
In other words, we planned to not do something, but we did it. Subject + wasn't/weren't going + infintive..., but + reason
- I wasn't going to exercise today, but after work, I felt like exercising.
- I wasn't going to attend the dance class, but I changed my mind.
- I wasn't going to buy the coat, but in the end, I decided to get it.
- She wasn't going to get married, but then she met Tim and fell in love.
- They weren't going to bid on the project, but something changed.
- He wasn't going to get a puppy, but once he saw the puppies he changed his mind.
- We were not going to eat ice cream, but it looked really delicious.
- I was not going to buy anything, but I saw this coat and I had to have it.
We often add "so..." to show the final action. When we are writing, we can add this to the end of the sentence, or we can just make a new sentence.
- Mary wasn't going to move to a new neighborhood, but then she found a great apartment by chance in a different neighborhood. So, she moved.
- We weren't going to see a movie, but we had nothing else to do, so we just went to the movie theater.
- I wasn't going to go out last night, but my friend called me and told me that the party was a lot of fun. So, I went.
It is also possible to use the future tense when we give the reason. We use this when we have not done the action yet, but we have changed our mind about doing it. In other words, the person's plans or intentions have changed, but they have not actually done the action yet.
Bonus Tips and Points
- I wasn't going to go to the party, but I think will now because I heard there will be a lot of free food.
- I wasn't going to buy a new car, but since my car broke down this morning, I think I will need to get a new car soon.
- I wasn't going to quit my job, but now I might.
- She wasn't going to attend the conference, but after I talked to her, she said she will come.
- They weren't going to take a trip, but now they say that they will.
- Mark wasn't going to learn yoga, but now he is thinking about joining a class.
- I was not going to say anything, but now I think that I will.
1. Many times with this sentence pattern, we do not need to give a reason why we decided to do something. Sometimes, the listener can guess the reason and other times the reason is not important or the reason is "just because". So, many native speakers end these sentences abruptly or in a general way.
- I wasn't going to eat dessert today, but you know.
- We weren't going to drink a lot, but it happened.
- I was not going to complain, but it just came out.
- I wasn't going to eat this cake, but...
2. When we are responding to a person, we can leave out the verb after "going to".
A) I thought you weren't going to come.
B) I wasn't going to, but I changed my mind.
A) I thought she was not going to buy a car.
B) She said she wasn't going to, but she got a good deal. Real-World English Conversations
A) I didn't think you were coming.
B) I wasn't going to come, but I had nothing else to do.
A) I thought you were going to stay home.
B) I wasn't going to come out, but I got bored.
A) Did you get a new coat? I thought you were trying to save money.
B) I wasn't going to get a new one, but this one was just so nice that I had to have it.
A) I thought that they weren't going to move to New York.
B) They weren't going to, but Brad got a really good job offer.
A) I thought you weren't going to attend the meeting.
B) I wasn't going to, but nobody else from my team could attend. So, I had no choice.
A) I thought you weren't eating sweets these days. Why are you having cake?
B) I wasn't going to, but it looked so good. I couldn't help myself.
A) We weren't going to tell you because we didn't want to give you stress, but the manager was not happy with your report and he is going to meet with you on Friday.
B) Actually, I am happy that you told me. It is better than being surprised. Use these free English lessons to learn the most common sentence patterns in the English language. If you learn these sentence and questions well, it will help you speak English well. Study the lessons thoroughly, practice making your own sentences, and come back to review often. If you do these three steps, your English speaking will improve quickly and you will be able to have natural English conversations.