Difference between "fulfil","achieve","reach","attain"?


New Member
I can't understand what is the real difference between these verbs and how to use them. For instance "I'd like to achieve my objective": is it correct or i should use one of the other verbs?

Could you explain it to me?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    Welcome to WRF.

    Usually we would ask you to look the words up in our dictionary and explain the difficulties but as it is your first post:

    There is a lot of overlap in these words. As I see it, the differences are:

    fulfil = to make an abstract objective complete [and final].
    achieve = to be successful in doing an abstract thing (often with the implication of gaining possession.)
    reach = to arrive at a place (also figurative) usually implying motion or time passing.
    attain = to come into possession of an abstract thing (often by figurative motion)

    Attain, achieve, and reach all indicate the point of arrival at the goal.
    Attain and achieve used to be used for physical things, but are only rarely used in that sense today.
    Fulfil implies that all the stages prior to the achievement have been completed and the point of arrival at the goal has been passed - the achievement is secure.
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