This question is used when somebody did something or something happened that was the opposite of what we expected or thought.
We are checking to see if what we originally thought was correct.
This question usually expresses a bit of surprise. The speaker is surprised by something that they did not expect. Weren't you going + infinitive...?
A) Weren't you going to take a day off today?
B) I was going to take a day off, but we need to finish this project, so I came to work.
A) Weren't you going to move to New York?
B) I was going to, but I couldn't find a job there.
A) Weren't you going to come to the party last night? I didn't see you there.
B) I was going to, but I fell asleep.
We can also use this question to ask about other people. Depending on the subject, we might need to use "wasn't" instead of "weren't".
A) Wasn't he going to speak at the conference?
B) He was going to make a speech, but he canceled it at the last second.
A) Weren't they going to start their own company?
B) They were going to do that, but they decided that it was too risky.
A) Wasn't Mark going to marry Tina?
B) He said he was going to, but it didn't happen. I am not sure why.
We can also express the same thing with this sentence pattern. I thought you were (not) going + infinitive...
Bonus Tips and Points
- I thought you weren't going to come to class today.
- I thought you were going to quit your job. Why are you still working there?
- I thought you were going to call me.
- I thought you weren't going to work this weekend.
- I thought you were going to start your diet today. Why are you eating cake?
1. We can also use this sentence pattern to express the same thing. I thought (that) you were + gerund/noun/adjective...
A) I thought you were going home.
B) I was about to, but I remembered that I need to finish this work first.
A) I thought you were sick. What are you doing at the gym?
B) Oh! Actually, I lied to you.
A) I thought he was coming.
B) He said he was coming. I'll call him and find out where he is.
2. If we got our information from another person, then we can use this sentence pattern. I heard (that) you were + gerund/noun/adjective...
A) I heard that you were moving to a different city.
B) That's right. I'm moving to Miami next month. Who did you hear that from?
A) I heard he was married.
B) Nope. He is single. Real-World English Conversations
A) Weren't you going to work out today? Why are you at the bar?
B) I exercised earlier. I came here after.
A) Weren't you going to ask Kathy to marry you last weekend?
B) I was too nervous. I'm going to try again this week.
A) Wasn't Bill going to give the presentation? Why is Sharon doing it?
B) Bill is sick today, so Sharon is filling in for him.
A) Weren't they going to help us? Where are they?
B) I'm not sure. They said they would help us, but I am not sure why they are not here.
A) Weren't you going to quit smoking?
B) It's too hard.
A) Everybody fails many times before they successfully quit smoking. Keep trying. Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!