Difference Wiki

Planing vs. Planning: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 3, 2023
"Planing" relates to shaving or smoothing a surface, especially wood, while "Planning" is the act of devising or arranging in advance.

Key Differences

"Planing" and "Planning" are two distinct words with different meanings, though they may sound alike. "Planing" is derived from the word "plane," which is a tool used to shave or smooth a surface, especially wood. When someone is planing a piece of timber, they are making the wood smooth by shaving off thin layers. This action results in a flat and even surface, which is crucial for various woodworking tasks.
On the other hand, "Planning" refers to the process of thinking about and organizing activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves forecasting, strategizing, and laying out detailed preparations for future actions. Planning can apply to numerous fields, from event organization to business strategies. For instance, a company might engage in planning to determine its business trajectory for the upcoming year.
To further illustrate the distinction, consider the following sentences: "She spent the morning planing the wooden board for her project" and "She spent the morning planning her project's steps." In the first sentence, the focus is on the physical act of making the wood smooth. In the second, the emphasis is on organizing and strategizing for a project.
To sum it up, while "Planing" pertains to a tactile, physical action related to surfaces, "Planning" revolves around cognitive processes related to future endeavors.

Comparison Chart


Shaving or smoothing a surface
Arranging or devising in advance

Derived From

"Plane" – a tool
"Plan" – a detailed proposal


Woodworking and surface treatment
Organizing, strategizing, forecasting

Part of Speech

Noun (often used as a gerund)


Carpentry and craftsmanship
Business, event organization, strategies

Planing and Planning Definitions


The action of shaving a material, especially wood.
He's adept at planing wood to perfection.


Making decisions and setting goals for future outcomes.
Effective business strategies require thorough planning.


The action of a boat rising partly out of the water.
The speedboat began planing across the lake.


Thinking ahead and preparing for various scenarios.
His trip went smoothly thanks to meticulous planning.


Removing high spots on a surface.
She spent hours planing the uneven door.


Arranging and setting up a specific course of action.
With careful planning, they managed to achieve their objectives.


Flattening or leveling a surface.
After planing the table, it looked brand new.


An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective
A plan for improving math instruction.


Refining or finishing a material.
Planing the sculpture gave it a smooth touch.


A proposed or intended course of action
Had no plans for the evening.


A carpenter's tool with an adjustable blade for smoothing and leveling wood.


A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline
A seating plan.
The plan of a story.


A trowel-shaped tool for smoothing the surface of clay, sand, or plaster in a mold.


A drawing or diagram made to scale showing the structure or arrangement of something.


To smooth or finish with a plane
Planed the door.


In perspective rendering, one of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision between the viewer and the object being depicted.


To remove with a plane
Plane off the rough edges on a board.


A program or policy stipulating a service or benefit
A pension plan.


To work with a plane.


To formulate a scheme or program for the accomplishment, enactment, or attainment of
Plan a campaign.


To rise partly out of the water, as a hydroplane does at high speeds.


To have as a specific aim or purpose; intend
They plan to buy a house.


To soar or glide.


To draw or make a graphic representation of.


To travel by airplane.


To make plans.


Present participle of plane


Present participle of plan


The act by which something is planed.


(uncountable) Action of the verb to plan.


The act of formulating of a course of action, or of drawing up plans.


The act of making contingency plans.


Planning permission.
My neighbours were going to build an extension but they didn't get planning.


An act of formulating a program for a definite course of action;
The planning was more fun than the trip itself


The act or process of drawing up plans or layouts for some project or enterprise


The cognitive process of thinking about what you will do in the event of something happening;
His planning for retirement was hindered by several uncertainties


The process of organizing and strategizing for future actions.
Her planning skills were evident in the successful event.


The act of creating a detailed proposal or blueprint.
The city is focused on urban planning to improve infrastructure.


Is "Planning" always about the future?

Generally, yes. "Planning" involves arranging or devising in advance.

Which professions often involve "Planing"?

Carpenters, woodworkers, and some artists frequently engage in planing.

Can I say "Planing the next step"?

That would be a mix-up. "Planning the next step" would be correct.

Are "Planing" and "Planning" pronounced similarly?

Yes, they sound very alike but have different meanings.

What tool is associated with "Planing"?

A "plane" is the tool primarily used for planing.

Does "Planning" always involve detailed steps?

Often, but not always. The depth of planning can vary based on the goal.

Can "Planning" be about contingencies?

Yes, planning can involve preparing for unexpected scenarios.

Do you need special skills for "Planing"?

Generally, yes. Proper technique ensures the best result and safety.

Can "Planning" involve multiple people?

Absolutely. Groups or teams often engage in collaborative planning.

Can "Planning" be a noun?

Yes, "Planning" is often used as a noun, especially in contexts like "urban planning."

Is "Planing" only associated with wood?

While commonly linked to wood, "planing" can refer to any action of shaving or smoothing a surface.

Is there a synonym for "Planning"?

Yes, "scheming," "organizing," or "strategizing" can be synonyms.

Is "Planing" always manual?

While traditionally manual, there are also machine-based methods today.

Is there a specific outcome from "Planing"?

The outcome is a smoother, even surface or refined material.

Can "Planing" refer to boats?

Yes, when a boat moves swiftly and rises slightly out of the water, it's described as planing.

In what contexts is "Planning" critical?

Business, events, projects, and strategies all often require careful planning.

Can "Planning" be spontaneous?

While planning is typically a deliberate act, there can be spur-of-the-moment planning in response to sudden situations.

What's the result of "Planing"?

A smoother, flattened, or refined surface.

Does "Planing" only remove material?

Primarily, yes. It shaves or smooths by removing layers or high spots.

Is "Planning" always formal?

No, planning can be formal or informal based on the context and objectives.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons