Plans Don’t Contemplate

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.

Bad Examples:
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?

Good Examples:
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
fluids.
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.

One Response to “Plans Don’t Contemplate”

  1. Can inanimate objects own or do things? « CyberText Newsletter Says:

    […] https://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/plans-dont-contemplate/ […]

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