What word could I use to describe a future project or collaboration that isn't guaranteed to happen?

I was emailing someone that I had talked with very briefly about collaborating on a project together. I hope that this person and I are able to work together, but this all depends on our schedules, how well we enjoy working together, and the subjects we both want to focus on.

What adjectives describe our project/collaboration? Is there a noun for this?

The exact sentence I wanted to insert the word into was:

Would you like to tell me more about your ideas for our [word] collaboration/project.

I'm not sure which word I would like to end the sentence with either, hence the "/".

I want to work with this person, so I didn't want to say: "our possible project", because I felt that I came across as indifferent as to whether or not we actually worked together at all.

I also didn't want to use the word pending because I felt as though I was pressuring the reader to respond and rushing the process so that I could remove the pending status.


Why I chose the accepted answer -

I felt like the word proposed had the best fit because it didn't make the project feel like it really depended on something or needed something to be cleared up.

It put the least emphasis on the decisions or effort that had to make the proposed project, a real project.

I didn't choose pending because I felt like that was almost rude to say in this scenario. It sounds like either I should supply the information needed to make the project go from pending to a work in progress, or that I'm expecting the other party to now supply what is needed from their end. I didn't want to say "Oh hey, you remember that pending project? Yeah... just waiting on you to see about that..."

I didn't choose prospective because I thought that it was very similar to the case above with pending. It was the same as telling the other party you were waiting on them, but it was like telling them you aren't sure if you're going to go through with it or not. As if they have to offer some incentive for you to make up your mind.

7 Answers 7


The first word that came to mind was tentative (unsure; uncertain; not definite or positive; hesitant).

After reading more carefully, I think a better word to use would be proposed (to put before oneself as something to be done; design; intend), as you have both put this collaboration before yourselves as something to be done, but it is still subject to confirmation.

Would you like to tell me more about your ideas for our proposed collaboration?

  • I like proposed much more than tentative. I feel that tentative stresses the if factor, while proposed stresses the fact that it has only been suggested or talked about.
    – Matt C
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 6:31

Prospective? Apparently I need to enter another 20 odd characters to answer.

  • 6
    The minimum character requirement is to avoid one liners. Please explain why your suggested word would be a suitable answer. Add a definition and reference, if possible. :)
    – NVZ
    Commented Apr 30, 2016 at 8:36

Potential conveys the idea:

  • possible when the ​necessary ​conditions ​exist:

    • A ​number of potential ​buyers have ​expressed ​interest in the ​company. Many potential ​customers are ​waiting for a ​fall in ​prices before ​buying. The ​accident is a ​grim ​reminder of the potential ​dangers ​involved in ​North Sea ​oil ​production.
  • Would you like to tell me more about your ideas for our potential collaboration/project.

Suggested, as in the suggested project we recently discussed

1. to put forward (a plan, idea, etc) for consideration: *I suggest Smith for 
   the post, a plan suggested itself*


Many of the answers here suggest a level of solidity to your collaboration that your original post doesn't necessarily support. You're only hoping to work together; it's only very loose that you may work on this, or, indeed, any other project.

So "tentative" suggests that something has been agreed in principle and it's pencilled in to a greater or lesser extent. Even "proposed" implies that you have an agreed subject and/or other defined parameters.

It feels to me like you're almost agreeing to agree, in that the first step would be to define what "project" means in this context. Depending on how much detail you discussed, then, I probably wouldn't go beyond "suggested" or "potential" as either simply reflects the possibility of the collaboration.



Also, hypothetic

assumed by hypothesis; supposed.

Random House



"to picture mentally, especially some future event or events."

See also here.


To avoid having to choose between collaboration and project, you could consider using them both with the noun prospect somehow, perhaps as follows:
“If you’ve given any more thought to the [exciting] prospect of our collaboration on Project X, I’d be anxious [I’d love] to hear your ideas.”

:the possibility that something will happen in the future
: an opportunity for something to happen

(from Merriam-Webster)

To the extent that the issue you have with the notion of “possible”/”possibility” might also be present with prospect, you could consider intensifying it with exciting.

Please note that I’m not entirely sure if the “ideas for [your (word) collaboration/project]” that you’re requesting are merely his/her thoughts/opinions about the possibility of such collaboration happening or if you’re jumping right to requesting her/his ideas concerning the actual execution of the project itself.
Regardless, perhaps by using “…[given] … thought to the [exciting] prospect” first, followed with the slightly ambiguous “ideas” later in your “request” (as suggested above), it would be clearer that you’re interested in finding out first what s/he thinks about the mere prospect while also, perhaps less presumptuously, giving your correspondent the opportunity to share any “ideas” they might already have on the substance of the project itself.

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