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I often hear people saying "putting a plan together" or "working on the plan", but they sound too colloquial. In the context of business documents, what is the verb that sounds more formal and means making a plan? Is "formulate" the right verb for it, for example "The division allocated 3 dedicated resources to formulate Business Continuity Plan by the end of the quarter"?

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  • formulate is good. Otherwise, develop, devise, prepare. Thesaurus.com is a good resource for synonyms.
    – Sydney
    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:02

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"Formulate" is fine, but bear in mind that words that are "more formal" each have a subtle nuance. Often it's better to use them only after you hear native speakers use them in context, or you see them written in something like the newspaper or other published (and presumably edited) material.

For example, one thesaurus lists "codify" as a synonym of "formulate" -- which is roughly true, however "codify" means "to arrange according to a plan or system, particularly laws or rules." Meanwhile, "devise" sounds clever, while "draft" sounds preliminary. You could also use "draw up", "prepare", "concoct", "develop", "hash out", and various others, all of which are subtly different from each other.

You can use any of these, depending on what exactly you want to imply with your sentence.

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