Some of the biggest documents I have the privilege of “fixing” are oilfield development plans. Every now and then I run across some sentences that have these plans doing things that only humans can do.
This five-year plan contemplates drilling 73 wells and installing four separators.
The design anticipates that produced fluids will increase by 342,000 b/d.
This proposal utilizes a new pipeline to transport produced fluids to shore.
If you have a hardcopy plan, and it’s contemplating, I want to see it! And if your design is sitting there trembling with anticipation, I’d pay good money to see that, too. Then you can show me exactly how a 24-page proposal utilizes a pipeline.
People contemplate, which means to ponder or meditate. A plan cannot do that.
People anticipate, or give advance thought to a matter. A design cannot do that.
People utilize things, or make practical use of something. A proposal cannot do that.
So how would we word these sentences correctly?
This five-year plan includes drilling 73 wells and installing four separators.
The design was based on an anticipated 342,000 b/d increase in produced
This proposal describes a new pipeline to transport produced fluids to shore.
Here’s the Rule of Thumb:
Make sure that your subject is physically capable of doing what the verb says it can do.