adjective: tentative


This week’s adjective is “tentative”. It is used when we want to talk about plans or appointments which have been scheduled but are not definite. In other words, they could change, but we aren’t sure yet. For example:

I have a tentative appointment with Bill Carson from ABC Company tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. He said he’d call to confirm it sometime this afternoon.

A: Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow?

B: I have tentative plans with my friend to have dinner tomorrow night. Let me call her to find out if she still wants to do that.


A: Why don’t we get together on Tuesday?

B: I’m supposed to play golf with my boss on Tuesday, but it’s only tentative. I’ll find out for sure and then let you know.

We can also use this word as an adverb by adding “-ly” to the end. For example:

A: What time can you meet with me on Friday?

B: I’m very busy that day. Let me see. Let’s make it tentatively for 2:00 p.m. I’ll confirm that time with you later.

This adjective is often used in business situations, but it can also be used when talking about personal plans in your free time.



  1. Noboru Said:

    Hi Mike,
    Thank you very much for good examples about “tentative.” I have a question for you about the last example. B answered, let’s make it tentatively for 2 pm. I’ll confirm that time with later.
    My understanding is B will call to A before 2 pm on Friday. Is that right? Or I have to wait his call until Friday? Should I call him and make sure the appointment? I sometimes very confused it because I do not want be rude.
    I hope you may understand my question.
    Thank you.


    • Hi Noboru.

      In the case of my example, B said “I’ll confirm that with you later.” so that means it’s B’s responsibility to get in touch with A. But if B only said “Let’s make it tentatively for 2:00.” and that’s all, then either A or B could get in touch to confirm the appointment.

      I hope that helps.


      • Noboru Said:


        Thank you very much for your clear explanation to my question. Now I understand well.


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