a plan to

This is the place to post questions and discussions on usage and style. The members of the Wordwizard Clubhouse will also often be able to help you to formulate that difficult letter.
Post Reply

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.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: a plan to

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

Yes. It is ambiguous.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Phil White
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.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

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.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: Phil White
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.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

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".
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

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.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

Re: a plan to

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

IMO, yes. The context would clarify.
ACCESS_POST_ACTIONS

ACCESS_END_OF_TOPIC
Post Reply