Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

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by Kate Woodford

January and February seem like the right months of the year for a post on the language of planning. Since there’s so much useful vocabulary in this area, this will be a two-part blog post.

Starting with near-synonyms for ‘arrange’, a handy phrasal verb is set up. To set up a meeting or similar event is to organize it:

We need to set up a meeting.

I’ve set up interviews with both candidates.

You might also say that you line up an event or number of events: We’ve lined up some great speakers for you this week. 

To schedule a formal or an official event is to arrange for it to happen at a particular time:

The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:45.

We have a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m.

If you reschedule something, you agree on a new and later time or date for something to happen: I’ve rescheduled Tuesday’s meeting for Wednesday.

If you plan in detail a period of time or future project, you might say that you map it out: He’s got his career all mapped out ahead of him

If you make temporary arrangements which may change in the future, you might describe them as provisional: These dates are only provisional.

You could say the same thing by saying that you will pencil in the arrangement: Okay, let’s pencil in a meeting for next Thursday at 11.

A related phrase is not set in stone, meaning ‘not fixed’: These dates may change nearer the time – they’re certainly not set in stone.

To say that you make a provisional plan definite, you might use the phrasal verb firm up: We’ll need to firm up the details of the agreement.

To call or write to someone in order to say that a formal arrangement is certain is to confirm it: Provisionally, we’ll say February 20th for the meeting, then, but confirm it later.

To anticipate something when you are planning is to expect that it will happen: I don’t anticipate any problems with this stage of the project.

If you allow for something that might happen, you consider it when planning and make arrangements for it: We have to allow for the possibility that the project might be delayed.

Meanwhile, if you reckon on or count on something happening, you think it is very likely and make plans that depend on it happening: We’re reckoning on selling 3,00 units a week.

Part 2 of this post will look at planning for potential problems.

13 thoughts on “Setting up and mapping out – the language of planning part 1

  1. Thank you, Kate, for the informative article.
    “To schedule a formal or an official event is to arrange for it to happen at a particular time.”
    If I write “to arrange it to happen (without for),” does this give the sentence a different meaning? Or is it just not idiomatic?

    I am reckoning on getting a convincing answer from you.

  2. Maryem Salama

    I am as keen reckoning on your next blog, the second part, as my potential problems impatiently can wait!
    Will you mind correcting my sentence if it doesn’t make sense!
    Thank you for your perfect posts.

  3. massi

    how would you say the contrary of “we have to postpone delivery of …..” in the sense of make it happen earlier than planned?

    1. Kate Woodford

      Massi, in British English, you could use the phrasal verb ‘bring forward’ e.g. We’ll have to bring forward the delivery…’


    Here’s much interesting knowledges in literary and by idiomatic usages pfrasal verbs.
    It’s new for me. Thank You evermore,.Kate!

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