by Kate Woodford
This week we’re looking at the sort of things we say to our friends when we are planning to do something together – the words and phrases that we naturally use when we are looking at our calendars and fixing a time and a place to do something.
You will probably start by trying to find a time when you and a friend are both free. You might say ‘Are you free next Thursday?’ or ‘Is next Thursday any good for you?’. You can ask the same question with the slightly more informal phrases, ‘Does next Thursday work for you?’ or ‘How are you fixed for next Thursday?’
If you can’t meet your friend on that day because you have already arranged to do something, you might say (UK) ‘I have something on that evening.’ or (US) ‘I have something going on.’ Or you may simply say, ‘I’m afraid I’m busy that evening.’ If you want to suggest a different time when you are free, you can say ‘I could do Friday evening. Is that any good?’ If your friend can’t do a particular date, you might say, ‘How about Sunday? Does that work better?’
If you both discuss a few different dates, and decide on one, you might say, ‘Okay, let’s make it Friday, then.’ Or simply, ‘Okay, let’s say Friday, then.’ You may then want to repeat the arrangements in order to make sure they are correct. At this point, people sometimes use the slightly informal phrase ‘Does that sound like a plan?’:
A: So, Tuesday, eight o’clock, at Charlie’s. Does that sound like a plan?
B: Perfect! See you then!
Sometimes we arrange something for now, knowing that we may have to change the arrangement at a later time. In this case, you might say, ‘Let’s pencil in next Wednesday.’ (The idea here is that you can remove these words more easily than those written in pen.) You might add that you will speak or be in touch ‘nearer the time’ to make the arrangement certain:
Okay, let’s pencil Tuesday the 8th for dinner and I’ll call you nearer the time to confirm.
If you arranged a date and place to meet before but now want to make certain that the friend is still able to come, you might say, ‘Are you still okay for this Thursday/Saturday, etc?’ If you are now not able to meet because you have to do something else, you might explain, ‘I’m afraid something has come up and I won’t be able to make it this Thursday.’
If a few friends have planned to meet and you need to tell someone that the arrangements have changed, you can start to explain by saying: ‘There’s been a change of plan’:
There’s been a change of plan for this Thursday. Sophie can’t make it at seven so we’re meeting a bit later.
Finally, when all the arrangements are made, you might finish the conversation with the following:
A: So, see you next Wednesday at the restaurant.
B: Great. Looking forward to it.