Bill, a substitute teacher in Fishers, Indiana, says that while visiting South Africa, he was surprised to hear an acquaintance use scheme to mean simply “a plan,” without no negative connotation whatsoever. In the UK and Commonwealth countries, scheme as a noun is simply neutral, although scheming implies something nefarious. This is part of a complete episode.

  1. Annie Stratton says:

    This story about the word “scheme” tickled me. My father (whose name was also Bill!) used the word “scheme” frequently to mean “plan”, as did his entire family. They weren’t schemers, but the plans they came up with ranged from serious (building a new outbuilding) to some scheme for picking up some piece of machinery to fix up and sell. I grew up in Oregon, but they all had come from rural idaho during the depression (migrated from Tennessee in the mid-1800s, Pennsylvania before that in the late 1700s, and Connecticut and Mass from Gaelic England. No idea where in all there they picked up this use of scheme. Bet it was Idaho, though.

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