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Plan On or Plan To?

Why Plan to Do Something If You Can Plan on Doing Nothing?

by Owen Fourie

We’re all too busy to enjoy life. Taking a break is a good thing, but even then we seem to spend our time planning to do the next thing instead of enjoying the moment.

Perhaps, for a break to be a real rest, we need to plan to do nothing when we have stopped working for a while.

In what has been written here, you’ll see that the word to comes after the words planning and plan.

In the title, it is the same for the first use of plan, but not in the second instance where we see on instead of to after plan.

Plan on

The word plan is used as a noun and as a verb. It also serves as a verbid.

A verbid is “any nonfinite form of a verb or any nonverbal word derived from a verb…” We identify verbids as participles, infinitives, and gerunds.

If you are in the habit of using the phrase “plan on”, where plan is a verb or a verbid, be aware that this is informal usage.

Avoid uses such as the following in your formal communication:

  • He is planning on attending the gymkhana in Boston.
  • They plan on taking a road trip across the northern states in the summer.

In the following headings found on the Internet, “plan on” is correct and may be used in this way in formal communication:

  • Stallion Castration Plan on Hold Until Court Rules … (Here, plan is a noun, not a verb or a verbid; this plan has been temporarily halted);
  • Get The Best Highway Trip Plan On The ‘Net! (Here, too, plan is a noun. It is followed by a prepositional phrase indicating where such a plan may be found).

Plan to

“Plan to” is the phrase that should be preferred in our usage, and it is required in formal usage.

It produces a concise statement. Compare the following sentences:

  • He is planning to attend the gymkhana in Boston.
  • He is planning on attending the gymkhana in Boston.
  • They plan to take a road trip across the northern states in the summer.
  • They plan on taking a road trip across the northern states in the summer.

After all this planning, let’s take a break and do nothing. After all, why plan to do more if you can plan to do nothing?

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It is evident that the use of “plan on” or “planning on” is becoming increasingly common. Do you suppose that this usage will gain acceptance in formal communication? How would you regard such a development? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

Copyright © 2012 by English Essay Writing Tips www.englishessaywritingtips.com


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