Foresee vs. Envision

Here’s a sentence that I didn’t like:
The redevelopment plan foresees the following drilling activities.

For one thing, plans cannot foresee. Only humans can foresee something – and mainly divinely inspired ones at that!

Some better ways to say this:
We anticipate the following drilling activities as part of this redevelopment plan.
This redevelopment plan includes the following drilling activities.
We envision the following drilling activities.
The following drilling activities are envisioned.

To foresee means to know about something beforehand. When writing about future events or activities that may or may not turn out as planned, using the word foresee implies a certainty that really does not exist. To foresee conveys the idea of knowing or expecting something is going to happen before it does. Foresee also can convey the idea of premonition, prophecy, or foretelling the future, and believe me, engineers don’t have that ability!

Envision means to picture to oneself, to imagine in one’s mind, or to conceive of as a possibility in the future. This is a much better verb to use in front-end engineering and design concepts and five-year plans.

Funny Typo of the Day:
(Actually, this one has two in the same sentence.)
The data are showing a slop change and mowing up to an average value.

Sounds like Farmer Brown is changing the feed for the animals and mowing with his tractor up a hill to the usual place.

What the author really meant was:
The data are showing a slope change and moving up to an average value.
In other words, we have a nice inflection point and things are looking much better now.
Profound Quote of the Day:
“When my job was attempting to predict future economic developments for the Shell oil company, I was frequently reminded of an Arabic saying: ‘Those who claim to foresee the future are lying, even if by chance they are later proved right.’”
– Vince Cable, British politician (Business Secretary), b. 1943


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