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I'm just wondering if "planify" is a real and commonly used word. For example, is it okay to say:

We need to planify this weekend.

instead of

We need a plan for this weekend.

To me as a native Spanish speaker it "sounds" good, but it may not be the case for a native English speaker.

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  • planify
    – TheMathemagician
    Jan 13, 2014 at 16:03
  • There are a few instances of the word in published books; nonetheless, your second sentence is the much more common and natural way to say it. You could also say: "We need to plan for this weekend"; that is, you could use plan as a noun or as a verb in this context.
    – J.R.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:21
  • While the word exists in some dictionaries, I doubt if anybody would really use it. It's certainly not a commonly used word. The usual way to express this in English is "to make a plan" or "to make plans" [for something]. Planify sounds like a word that somebody just made up, or perhaps some kind of business jargon. You can also use "plan" as a verb. We need to plan this weekend.
    – Billy Kerr
    Sep 1 at 10:43

5 Answers 5

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As dictionary.com will tell you, the verb at least does exist. As everyone else will tell you, that's about all it has going for itself, and nobody actually ever uses it. At all.

What native speakers are likely to produce instead is "make plans for the weekend" or simply "plan the weekend".

"We need a plan for this weekend", while grammatical, is unlikely to occur, either. "We need a plan" is a rather fixed phrase where the plan stands for something like "strategy". So you're likely to hear it in a war room, or in a disaster movie, but in the context of a couple planning their weekend it has a funny touch.

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  • I agree, with a few plausible but uncommon exceptions. For example, suppose the couple is going on vacation, and many of the details haven't been set yet. "This week flew by! I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow; we need a plan for this weekend."
    – J.R.
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:23
  • @J.R. Yeah, I think basically whenever something went wrong, there's an oversight to fix or a problem to address, that's when you need a plan. Disaster movies are just a prominent example that first came to mind, but you can of course be fixing things as a mere couple as well. But whenever you're not fixing a problem but simply making plans for a weekend, then you're, well, simply making plans for the weekend.
    – ЯegDwight
    Jan 14, 2014 at 11:53
  • I disagree that planify is 'never used at all'. It is common among European speakers of English, especially in a business context. In that context, it would not be unusual to use the word. In the US, business contexts often accommodate the word being used without explanation. Casual / social contexts in the US will cause a pause or consideration from the listener. You should avoid this latter case. Oct 12, 2018 at 1:41
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    @NewAlexandria well, I happen to be a European speaker of English. Surrounded by other European speakers of English. And I happen to spend a full eight hours of every single day in a business context. Marketing, sales, customer support. Shows, conferences, exhibitions. International audiences. Huge customer base. I had never heard the word "planify" before seeing this question, and I have never heard it in the five years since. I cannot with a straight face call it common. The word beer is common. The word seven is common. The word planify is not common by any stretch of imagination.
    – ЯegDwight
    Oct 12, 2018 at 16:51
  • Seems we have different circles. (this question is 3yr old, btw, not 5) Oct 13, 2018 at 19:36
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The one time I heard the word planify was in Spain. The speaker was a native Moroccan who grew up in Spain and spoke fluent English. I was so amused that I remember it well all these years later.

I think "planify this weekend" is identical in meaning to "plan this weekend." However "plan for this weekend" could have a slightly different meaning, depending on the speaker's intent. "Plan this weekend" means to plan what will occur on the weekend. "Plan for this weekend" means to make a plan in preparation for the weekend, including actions occurring before the weekend.

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It is not native to English speakers. It is used by French and Creole speakers. Planify, a verb, means to plan, but often has economic nuances to it. Planification is a noun, referring to the process of planning or organizing, again, often with regard to economic organization in French.

If you are planning a party for the weekend, in English, you would simply say, "I am planning a party for the weekend." English speakers would know what you mean if you said you were planifying a party, but they would never say it that way.

Used as a noun, the state highway commission would have a Planning Department, not a Planification Department.

Also for English speakers, the word Department in French or Creole has the additional meaning of an organizational jurisdiction similar to a named state in American English (like Ohio, or Florida, or North Dakota, West Virginia or South Carolina, or Texas). In Haiti the Nordest Department is the name of the northeastern state (a smaller organizational jurisdiction of a country), specifically named and translated as the Northeast State, the one which borders the Dominican Republic at the Atlantic Ocean, aptly, in the northeastern part of Haiti. Their land measurements in the Department are measured by hectares, not acres. American state, county and township jurisdictions are broken down into acres. In the American state of Louisiana, counties are called parishes.

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Yes, it is a real word, but no, it is not a synonym for having a plan. In technical usage, it means to turn something into a plan, something that is similar to a plan but not sufficiently specific to be actionable. You don't planify a weekend, you planify an heuristic (e.g.). In this sense, it means something similar to "compile", only at a higher level of abstraction, and not down to byte code but to something on a human conceptual scale:

Second, and even if the problem is well-constrained, MM builds only components which contain as many constraints as variables since there exists a perfect matching of the corresponding subgraph. Thus, MM is not able to planify non-square components [....]

And from that usage it apparently passed into slang to mean "over-specify", and when used of people, to describe what they're doing, it has a negative connotations:

Thus, as Melville might have said: Planify away, Mr. Keough! With all your expertise, you cannot micromanage the slippery motives [...] of your product's consumption.

Thus you would not say you need "to planify this weekend" unless, I don't know, you were intending on invading Normandy or similar. I'm pretty sure I've planified a few weekends, and implementation started with making sure all our watches were in sync to within a couple seconds. And in using planify this way, I'm being wryly self-deprecating.

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I find the emphasis on “European speakers of English” very laughable, frankly.

An examination of the 7 major English dictionaries:

  1. American Heritage Dictionary (American)
  2. Chambers Dictionary (British)
  3. Collins English Dictionary (British)
  4. Concise Oxford English Dictionary (British, American)
  5. Macquarie Dictionary (Australian)
  6. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary (American)
  7. Random House Webster's Dictionary (American)

yields that in only 2 of them does the verb “planify” appear. One was the Random House Webster's Dictionary, which is a dictionary of American English, and the other occurrence was in the Collins English Dictionary, which is a British English dictionary but that lists “planify” as coming from America.

In no dictionaries of British English does “planify” appear as a British term.

As an American who works in a British company, the only times I’ve even seen or heard this term is when Spanish speakers speak or write in English.

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  • Hello Alejandro, Thanks for your contribution which is good, but this question is very old. You may get more from answering newer questions.
    – James K
    Sep 1 at 7:54

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