acquire or obtain support?

teacup2

Senior Member
Finnish
Hello,

I am writing an academic paper on socialist countries and am wondering if one can use either verb with the word support.

"Citizens' needs were re-evaluated at many levels, in an obvious race for acquiring/obtaining the support of the people."

(The preceding sentence gives some context: "There was a shift in the communist regimes’ attitude towards society, emerging in the 1960s.")

Would the two verbs be both idiomatic?
 
  • mannoushka

    Senior Member
    Iran/Persian
    Hi! I am afraid I'm not sure about the right answer to your question. However, as a suggestion, I feel the word 'gain' would work (equally well?) in the sentence.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I vote for "winning the support", but I'd use the' to- infinitive', whatever verb is preferred.
    Hermione
    I agree. You want the infinitive, whichever verb you chose:
    ... in an obvious race to win the support of the people.
    ... in an obvious race < to gain / to garner> the support of the people.
    :)
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Either of the two verbs that you asked about ('acquire' and 'obtain') are fully acceptable. 'Win', 'gain', and 'garner' are also OK. A preference for one over another others is stylistic, not grammatical. 'For' followed by a gerund as in 'for acquiring' is OK. You can also use the infinitive 'to acquire'.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I see that we differ.

    I might say 'a race to win the support of ... [etc]' or 'a race for the support of ... ', but not a 'race for winning the support of'.

    And while I agree that the choice is stylistic, 'the support of the people' seems less like something you would race to acquire or obtain, and more like something you would race to gain, win, garner, etc, ....
     

    neal41

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I see that we differ.

    I might say 'a race to win the support of ... [etc]' or 'a race for the support of ... ', but not a 'race for winning the support of'.

    And while I agree that the choice is stylistic, 'the support of the people' seems less like something you would race to acquire or obtain, and more like something you would race to gain, win, garner, etc, ....
    I prefer the infinitive form 'a race to win the support of . . .', and I think 'win' is the better verb. 'Gain' is next, and 'acquire' is the least desirable.
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    Good replies above, but I wonder if "race" is the best word? It suggests a competition with one or more others. I wonder if "a clear drive to gain/win/garner (etc) the support ..." might be better.

    However, if you're suggesting there was a competition between the different countries (which isn't clear from the context we're given here), then stick with "race".
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    but I wonder if "race" is the best word?
    Interesting, gaining support is always a race. You need to win the 'support race' and you have to keep winning the re-runs to get and keep the support of the people.

    Loose one and you could be a yesterday's man.

    GF..

    Is race the best word? It works, people use and understand it and in the context of politics you have to keep winning the race...
     

    Enquiring Mind

    Senior Member
    English - the Queen's
    " ... in the context of politics you have to keep winning the race...", well yes, but I think it's implied that the race is against the other political parties. You can also "race against time", (time is the competitor). Unfortunately there isn't enough context in teacup2's original post.
    I'm not sure that gaining support is always "a race", more of a process ...
    "Lose one and you could be a yesterday's man..." - yes, your competitors will supersede you ...
     
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