I've seen lots of answers that it isn't correct to use "to infinitive" instead of "gerund" with "plan", but not seen any answers explaining why. To my way of thinking, these sentences below seem to sound all natural.

  1. I've planned travelling to the US.
  2. I've planned to travel to the US.
  3. I've planned on traveling to the US.

I guess this is just because 1 is far less used than the others. Whether your guesses would be wrong or not, I want to hear your opinions.

  • They don't sound too bad to me, but are perhaps a little off. For 1 and 3, it sounds like it's missing something; "I've planned travelling to the US in the past, but never again!" Maybe "I planned on travelling to the US." or "I had planned on travelling to the US" depending on what nuance you want. Possibly "I've planned out travelling to the US." For 2 "made plans" sound a little more natural - "I've made plans to travel to the US."
    – Showsni
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 13:44
  • 1
    They are grammatically all OK.
    – BillJ
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 13:49
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    @Floret No, "expect" only takes to-infinitival clauses as complement, not gerund-participial ones. "Plan" takes both gerund-participial and to-infinitival clause as complement ("I plan telling/to tell her next week").
    – BillJ
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 15:08
  • 1
    In some niche cases, "I have never expected having a deep relationship with her" is correct. For instance Alice might ask Bob, "Wow, she doesn't like you much, does she?", and Bob could say it - a humorous understatement of the fact. Commented May 28, 2019 at 5:29
  • 1
    Also, it might be helpful for me to point out that expecting something is like predicting that something you have no control over happening, whereas planning is about things under your control. Commented May 28, 2019 at 5:35

1 Answer 1


It is generally allowable to use all of these variations in construction, but they sound less natural, and this difference causes the listener to wonder why the obvious construction wasn't used. I think you understand that, but I'm confirming.

Plan is a very complex word, as it can refer to a state of mind, an action - the action of thinking ahead - or the product of that thinking. Combinations of these uses and different tenses can convey any of a richly diverse set of ideas, so you should stick to the rules to keep your meaning clear.

I won't attempt to list a bunch of examples, but if a speaker needs to convey particular subtle differences (or in certain cases, very significant ones), he would use one or more of these variations, stressing different words or syllables, and still sound perfectly natural. But the needed placement of all of these stresses can be extremely complex. Until you achieve a high degree of mastery, it is good advice to use the 'to-infinitive'; this is why people will say the other ways are just wrong. Early on, it's better for you to show that you know the rule, rather than show that you know it can be broken.

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