The next time I see somebody use the word “pre-planning,” I’m going to have to report that person to the Department of Repetitive Redundancy for using a pleonasm.

You see, “planning” is the act or process of making a plan or plans. A plan is a mental formulation or a graphic representation that is done before the action takes place. A plan is also a scheme, program, or method worked out beforehand for the accomplishment of an objective. The concept of “before” is already included in the word, which makes the “pre–” prefix, which also means “before,” unnecessary. It’s the same situation with “advanced planning” or “future plans,” which are also pleonasms. Nix, Nix.

So what in the Sam Hill is a pleonasm, you ask? It’s two words put together that mean the same thing. Here are some examples I found on
– burning fire
– cash money
– end result
– all together
– invited guests
– null and void
– cease and desist
– ATM machine
– HIV virus
– RAM memory

A pleonasm is the opposite of an oxymoron, which is two words put together that mean the opposite:
– awfully good
– deafening silence
– pretty ugly

These are not to be confused with Oxy morons… (don’t get me started.)

Bet You Didn’t Know….
The official plural of “oxymoron” is “oxymora”, although “oxymorons” is becoming more acceptable.

It is a good idea to avoid using pleonasms in your writing, because they are redundant.
It is also a good idea to avoid using oxymora in your writing, because they can be confusing.

Funny Tidbit:
When you search Google for “pre-planning” you get ads for cremation services and funerals. You either plan for your funeral, or you don’t; there is no such thing as post-planning in that industry!

Profound Quote of the Day:

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

–  Alan Lakein, American businessman, author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, which sold 3 million copies


2 Responses to “Pre-Planning”

  1. Bruce Says:

    Enjoying your rants 🙂

    BUT, I beg to differ (I hope you don’t have a problem with that phrase!) on your posting on “pre-planning”: I believe there may be a time and place for it.

    I hear this used often in the hallways at work, and it has definite meaning: “the preparation before the planning”. It often refers to the gathering of statistics, materials, costs, etc. that will go into the planning itself – but is not the act of planning anything. An example being “We are currently in the pre-planning phase”, meaning “we are preparing for the big planning meeting” – but no one has talked of dates or deliverables yet. Of course, I have a fairly specific idea of what “planning” means (the act of defining and linking goals, actions, dates, deliverables, etc.).

    I do agree it is often misused to mean “the planning that goes before the other planning”, or a sort of temporary or tentative low-resolution planning. And I do work for a company that loves to have meetings to plan meetings, so maybe some of it has rubbed off on me….


    Gotta go – I have a pre-planning meeting to run to…

    • petrocomputing Says:

      I’m OK with your definition of pre-planning to mean “before planning,” but I’m not OK with using that expression to mean “planning” or “planning before implementing,” which is how many people use it.

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