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Common English Phrasal Verbs and Expressions about Planning

These English phrasal verbs and expressions can help you make plans at work and in your personal life.

Verbs used with the word "plan" (all have the same basic meaning)

Make a plan

  • We need to make a plan before we proceed with the project.

Come up with a plan

  • Our team of engineers came up with an excellent plan to fix the leak.

Draw up a plan

  • The purpose of today's meeting is to draw up a plan to attract new investors.

Map out a plan

  • I think we should map out a plan before we start spending money from our budget.

Work out a plan

  • We're trying to work out a plan on how to be more efficient in our operations.

Hash out a plan

  • It took us a few hours but we were able to hash out a plan

People planning

Phrasal Verbs

To plan ahead = another way of saying "to plan in order to prepare for the future"

  • You have to plan ahead before you travel abroad to ensure that your trip is successful.

To think things through = to think about all aspects of a situation before making a decision

  • Buying a house is a major purchase. It's important to think things through before buying one.

To rush into something = to start doing something without any planning or preparation

  • Don't rush into getting married with someone. Take some time to be sure that he or she is the right person.

Idioms and Expressions about Planning (or Not Planning)

To wing it = to do something in the moment without any preparation

  • I didn't plan my wedding speech or write a script to read. I just winged it. Luckily, it went well.

To take it one step at a time = to do something slowly and carefully instead of rushing

  • Learning everything at the same time for a new job can be stressful and overwhelming. It's a good idea to take it one step at a time.

To have a plan B/To have a backup plan = to prepare a second plan in case the first one fails

  • I want to go to Tokyo Super Sushi but it's a very popular restaurant, so it's hard to get a table. We should have a plan B in case we can't get a table there.

To stick to the plan = to do exactly what your plan describes

  • We've planned everything in detail for the event. As long as we stick to the plan, it will be a success.

To play it by ear = to decide on your actions based on the circumstances at the moment instead planning what you will do in advance

  • I don't like to make plans for my weekend. I just play it by ear. Sometimes I stay home if I feel like it and sometimes I join whatever my friends are doing.

To cross that bridge when I get to it = to say that you will deal with a situation later when that situation arises (instead of focusing on that situation now)

  • I know that my company is in big trouble financially, but I don't want to think about finding a new job right now because I'm still employed. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.


Complete these phrases using the words provided below:

wing / with / cross / time / B / through / step / get / out / ear / rush / stick

  1. To have a plan ____

  2. To ___ to the plan

  3. To come up ____ a plan

  4. To take it one ____ at a ____

  5. To play it by ____

  6. To map ____ a plan

  7. To ___ it

  8. To think things ____

  9. To ____ into things

  10. To ____ that bridge when we ____ to it.


  1. B

  2. stick

  3. with

  4. step / time

  5. ear

  6. out

  7. wing

  8. through

  9. rush

  10. cross / get


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