Pencil Me In

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Have you ever made plans with someone without 100% certainty? At that moment everything seems possible but perhaps your schedule will change or you might even have to cancel. This happens a lot in life, so much so that we have an expression for it: pencil in.

To pencil in something or someone (or to pencil something or someone in) means to schedule an activity with the possibility of changing it later. It’s an appointment that is tentative, not certain, provisional (possibly to be changed later). It is a common expression in business English but it also can be used in everyday life. Try it!

I’ll pencil you in for lunch tomorrow.
Howard’s boss penciled in a staff meeting for 2 pm.
I’ll pencil our conference call in for 10 a.m. Let me know if you need to change it.

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