I have a sentence like

But also more fancy products such as artificial skins are envisaged.

Which is the right word to put in the place of envisaged? As far as I know there are no products yet on the market but such products are planed, and there is research going on to realize such products. However there are other products (using the same technique) which are less advanced and will likely be commercialized earlier.

Now is envisage the right word or does it imply something too utopian? Are words as consider better? I guess in French (which is not my mother-tongue) I would have used the word envisager, but I feel the English counterpart has not exactly the same meaning.


1 Answer 1


There's a problem of mismatched registers in OP's example. As pointed out in comments above, envisage and envision are simply UK/US regional variants with no discernible difference in meaning. But they're both "50-cent words" that clash with OP's rather slangy/informal fancy = sophisticated, complex.

OP should decide whether to go for (1) normal/informal or (2) formal, and stick to one register...

1: ...more fancy products such as artificial skins are planned.
2: ...more sophisticated products such as artificial skins are envisaged (US, envisioned).

Note that I don't mean to imply planned or sophisticated are "informal" or "formal" usages above - like most English words, they're "neutral/normal" (neither formal nor informal). It's only the specific words fancy and envisaged/envisioned that denote "level of formality" in my examples.

As a general principle, I think both non-native speakers and native speakers without high linguistic competence should avoid trying to produce "formal" phrasings, because careful speakers/writers are more likely to notice the inevitable mistakes, and judge them more harshly. If you're not sure exactly how to use a "fancy" word, play safe and use "ordinary" words (just avoid "informal" usages as appropriate).

  • +1 Also: fancier, not more fancy, at least cisatlantically. Oct 6, 2013 at 14:54
  • As a non-native english speaker I have some difficulties to fully understand your answer. OP=?. The sentence will be in the introduction of my thesis (in Physics). I guess sophisticated might be a better choice than fancy. so envisaged might not imply that the realization is too far in the future? Oct 6, 2013 at 15:07
  • @user2758804: I don't think there's any single word you could use at the end of your sentence that would reliably disambiguate between planned in the near future, and planned in the distant future, if that's what you mean. As it's a thesis, you should definitely avoid the informal "fancy" here. Both envisage and envision will be understood by any competent native speaker, and they're unlikely to notice or care which you use. Some people may think planned = intended/expected, where envisaged/envisioned = allowed for/possible (but might not actually happen). Oct 6, 2013 at 15:20

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