Make arrangements

To “make arrangements” for something is to prepare to get it or prepare to do it.

Today's story: Vaccines
Explore more: Lesson #332
Keywords:

Be your best self in English

Move confidently through the English-speaking world

Listen

  • Learning speed
  • Full speed

Learn

TranscriptQuizYour turn
Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

Make arrangements

Today’s expression is “make arrangements.” To “make arrangements” for something is to prepare to get it or prepare to do it. Around the world, governments are making arrangements to vaccinate their populations. They are preparing to do it. This is a general, non-specific way of saying that they are working on it.

When a country is making arrangements to vaccinate its population, it’s doing what’s necessary to vaccinate its population. First, it’s got to contact the vaccine manufacturer and place an order. Later, it needs to give regulatory approval. Then, it needs a plan to distribute it. That might mean there are additional regulations or guidelines to be published. All those things count as “making arrangements.” It’s the general preparation; the things necessary.

We’re going to make arrangements for the kids to go to summer camp this year. What does that mean? It means you’re going to do everything you need to do to get those kids out of the house for a few weeks this summer! You’re going to research camps, choose a week, put down your deposit, figure out how you’ll get there, plan something for mom and dad to do while the kids are away. To make arrangements for the kids to go to camp is to do all the things needed for them to go to summer camp this year.

You might plan something with friends or coworkers; after you all decide what to do, you might look around the room and ask, “who is going to make all the arrangements?” That means, who’s going to do the planning?

We say “make arrangements to” do an action, or “make arrangements for” someone or something. When I went on vacation in August, I made arrangements to take two weeks off from Plain English. That didn’t mean I skipped a week of lessons. It just means that I did two full week’s worth of work ahead of time, so that I could be away. Then I left JR in charge and crossed my fingers! I made arrangements to take a week off; we say “make arrangements to” plus the verb “take a week off.”

You say “make arrangements for” a thing. I’ll make all the arrangements for next week’s meeting. That means, I’ll reserve the room, send out the agenda, order lunch, whatever is needed.

If you need to have surgery, the hospital might tell you to make arrangements to get a ride home. After surgery, you might not be feeling well enough to drive yourself, so you’ll need to make arrangements to get a ride home. The hospital will say “make arrangements” because everyone will have a different way of getting a ride home. Some people will be married and their spouse will drive them. Others might ask a friend. Some people might not have a close friend to ask, so they’ll have to order a taxi. It’s not the hospital’s business and they don’t want to be impolite, so they might say, “make arrangements to get a ride home.”

Here’s another time you might say “make arrangements” when you don’t want to be more specific. When someone has died, you might ask who in the family is making funeral arrangements. You might offer to help with any of the arrangements if you’re a close family member. “Make arrangements” is a polite way of referring to everything that needs to be done, without saying those things out loud. You don’t want to say, “who is choosing the casket” or “who’s setting the date and time of the funeral” or “who’s paying for all this”. (Don’t say that!) You might want to ask who’s doing those things, but you don’t want to say the words out loud. So the more polite way to say it is, “who’s making the arrangements”? Who’s doing the necessary things?

Quote of the Week

I’ve been doing some research on copywriting lately. Copywriting is determining the words to put on web pages and such. The key is to get your message across in as few words as possible. Reducing the number of words is hard work! It’s hard to write short content. So as I was reading some guides about this, I came across this quote. It’s by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. It’s tongue-in-cheek. It’s like a joke. It’s the way he closed a letter to a friend. He said, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

I like that. Because everyone thinks it takes a long time to write a lot—but it really takes a long time to write a little, but still get your message across. Here’s how he closed his letter again, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

See you next time!

That’s all for today’s lesson. Remember, there’s a lot more on the web site for each lesson. This lesson is at PlainEnglish.com/332. And if you’re a Plus member, you get a step-by-step video walkthrough on how to describe a low-probability outcome, how to describe something that might happen, but there’s a low chance of it happening. Plus remember all the listening and pronunciation exercises that we always have, all at PlainEnglish.com/332.

Coming up on Thursday: Look up in the sky: it might be a Boeing 737-MAX. The troubled plane is back on the schedule at airlines in the US and Brazil, and we’ll talk about what has changed since the plane was grounded about two years ago. That’s on Thursday. Until then, keep up the good work and remember to practice with us at PlainEnglish.com

Learn more expressions like this

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

We speak your language

Learn English words faster with instant, built-in translations of key words into your language

Starter feature

Test your knowledge

Take a 4-question quiz to make sure you understand today’s Expression

Plus+ feature

Write a sentence with this Expression

Get personal, human feedback on the examples that you write. Build the confidence to use this Expression in the real world

Story: Vaccines