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The English "plan" can be translated into Spanish as plan or plano. What is the difference between plan and plano, and when would each one be used?

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1 Answer 1

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Let's look at what Webster says about plan: Definition of PLAN

plan

  1. : a drawing or diagram drawn on a plane: as
    a : a top or horizontal view of an object
    b : a large-scale map of a small area

  2. a : a method for achieving an end
    b : an often customary method of doing something : procedure
    c : a detailed formulation of a program of action
    d : goal, aim

  3. : an orderly arrangement of parts of an overall design or objective

  4. : a detailed program (as for payment or the provision of some service)

Now, let's look at what RAE says for plano and plan:

plano, na.
(Del lat. planus).
4. m. Representación esquemática, en dos dimensiones y a determinada escala, de un terreno, una población, una máquina, una construcción, etc.

plan. (De plano).
2. m. Intención, proyecto.
3. m. Modelo sistemático de una actuación pública o privada, que se elabora anticipadamente para dirigirla y encauzarla.
4. m. Escrito en que sumariamente se precisan los detalles para realizar una obra.
5. m. Dieta, régimen de vida, especialmente alimenticio. El plan que siguió fue muy severo.

Summarizing, plan translates as:

  • plano, when it is used in it definition 1 (and sometimes 3): a diagram, a map...
  • plan, when it is used in its definitions 2 and 4 (and sometimes 3): a program of action, a goal...

Some examples:

  • plano de Barcelona
  • plano del metro
  • plano de una casa (a floorplan)
  • plan de acción
  • plan de pensiones
  • ¡Tengo un plan! (I have an idea of a set of steps to achieve a goal)
  • ¡Tengo un plano! (I have a map or schematic drawing)
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