a plan to

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a plan to

Post by navi » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:51 am

1) His father has a plan for him to go to college.


Can't this mean two things:

a) His father has come up with a plan that will make it possible for him to go to college. The plan is actually a method to send him to college.

b) His father has a plan. That plan consists of him going to college. The plan is his going to college. His father has a plan: for him to go to college.

Dad says to son: I have a plan: you'll go to college. Then you'll find a good job and we'll all be rich.

Gratefully,
Navi.


Gratefully,

Navi.
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Re: a plan to

Post by Phil White » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:50 am

Yes. It is ambiguous.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: a plan to

Post by navi » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:03 pm

Thank you very much, Phil,

Is this one correct and is it ambiguous as well:

2) His father has the plan for him to go to college.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: a plan to

Post by Phil White » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:40 pm

It sounds a little strange to me, but I am sure people would say it and I am sure it is also ambiguous.
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: a plan to

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:13 pm

2) implies that it is the father, not the son, who has put together (and/or has physical custody of) the plan regarding the son going to college.
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Re: a plan to

Post by tony h » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:48 pm

2 might also suggest that the plan is rather wild (possibly illegal) and that normal plans would not work.

It is a phrasing that might be more suitable for a prison escape film or crime drama. as in "he has got the plan to get into Fort Knox" or "he has got the plan to get past the guards".
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Signature: tony

With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: a plan to

Post by navi » Fri Aug 18, 2017 8:15 am

Thank you all very much,

Would you consider:
3) He has a plan to go to college.
also ambiguous?

a) He has a plan that will allow him to go to college. He has found a way to go to college.
b) He has a plan which consists simply of going to college.

Gratefully,
Navi.
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Re: a plan to

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:18 am

IMO, yes. The context would clarify.
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End of topic.
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