Usage of the word plan

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I know that there are many meanings of the word, plan and I was wondering if the meaning of it in the sentence is intention or method or either one, depending on context?

 

"There are no plans to build new offices."

 

 

According to some dictionaries, in 'His plan is to go back to the USA', the meaning of it is intention and it is equal to 'to go back t0 the USA'.

 

In 'The government has announced plans to create one million new training places', the meaning of it is arrangement or method. and they are not equal to 'to creat one million...'

 

So I thought that the meaning of plan in the first example is arrangement or method, but my dictionary says it means intention, so I am so confused now. What do you experts think? Do we really have to distinguish one meaning from the other like this? Thank you so much as always.

asked Dec 02 '12 at 01:42 Hans Contributor

1 answer


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As a noun, plan has three senses (according to the Oxford English Dictionary).

 

1) a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something: the UN peace plan

2) (usually plans) an intention or decision about what one is going to do: I have no plans to retire

3) a detailed diagram, drawing, or program, in particular. a fairly large-scale map of a town or district: a street plan

 

"There are no plans to build new offices." -- sense #2, an intention or decision.

"His plan is to go back to the USA." -- sense #2, an intention or decision.

 

I am not sure what you mean by "equal." If by equal, you mean "to go back to the USA" is the answer to "what is his intention?" -- then yes.

 

'The government has announced plans to create one million new training places." -- sense #1, a detailed proposal.

 

Again, I am not sure what you mean by equal here either. "To create one million new training places" is the answer to "what will the government's plan accomplish?"

 

With regard to arrangement, you may be confusing two separate and different usages. A floor plan (noun sense #3) shows the arrangment (noun) of rooms.

 

Plan, howeverm can also serve as a verb, and the first sense of the verb form is "to decide on and arrange in advance." 

 

I hope this helps.

 

      

     

link edited Dec 02 '12 at 03:57 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Thank you and this is what I have been looking for, but 'The government has announced plans to create one million new training places." can never sense #2, an intention or decision?

HansDec 02 '12 at 04:30

And then, we cannot say that "plans" = "to create one million new training places in the sentence"? However, " His plan" = "to go back to the USA", right? I really hope to hear from you again. Please when you are not busy, help me out.

HansDec 02 '12 at 06:50

'The government has announced plans to create one million new training places." = 'The government has announced plans for creating one million new training places."?

HansDec 02 '12 at 12:14

"The government plans to create one million new jobs next year." -- verb, sense #1 meaning to decide on and arrange. "The government plan to create one million new jobs will require ...." -- noun, sense #1. "The government's plans to creat one million new jobs are doomed to failure" -- noun, sense #2. The context determines the sense. While the various senses are closely related, the sense does not shift from one to another unless the context also changes.

Jeff PribylDec 02 '12 at 14:59

Yes, we can say "The government plans to create ...." Depending upon what follows, plans may either be a verb or a noun. "The government plans to create new jobs next year" uses plans as a verb. "The government plas to create new jobs next year are doomed to failure" uses plans as a plural noun (sense #1).

Jeff PribylDec 02 '12 at 15:02

"To create" = "for creating" is more or less true in this context.

Jeff PribylDec 02 '12 at 15:03

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