reach/attain/achieve/realise/fulfil

Deborah White

Senior Member
Korean Korea
Hello,

I know this would be too big a request. But I simply cannot imagine how I could possibly explain the above words (their collocations with some nouns) clearly if I didn't come here for help.

(here the use of translation in explanation simply doesn't work for the task on hand, for it large depends on mother tongue, not on English collocation.) (besides, I find some discrepancy between some exercise answers provided with the dictionary findings.)

Of course one can get a lot of entries concerning the definitions and phrase/sentence examples from a dictionary.
But is there any magic rule as to how to distinguish each one's unique usage and collocation?

Or do we have to rely on our memory to familiarize ourselves with them one by one?
 
  • Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I think the problem may be linked with Korean language because I did not have any particular problem with these verbs...
    So I think the best help you could get would be from somebody who knows both Korean and English and therefore can "come to the point" (as opposed to quoting one language dictionaries about the individual meaning of these words).
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Hi Deborah

    I think it boils down to a matter of intuition as much as reliance on rules. In many cases, these will be entirely synonymous; other times, one only knows by instinct which is appropriate, and that really comes from recognising which one is appropriate in a particular context.

    Sorry I can't be more definitive. Happy to help with individual queries if you want to practice using the various options.
     

    Deborah White

    Senior Member
    Korean Korea
    I find some concrete sentences i want to discuss with you.

    1.The charity-fund has failed to (reach/attain/achieve) its target of 1 million yuan.

    In this sentence, since the meaning is negative, so I feel to use 'attain' or 'achieve' is meaningless. So I prefer 'reach'.
    But the answer for reference is the above three, for the editor of the exercisebook may think all the three collocations are ok.
    How do you think of it?

    2. Very few people (realize/fulfil) all of their hopes and dreams in life.
    But some other sources indicate that hopes and dreams can also be linked with the verb 'achieve'. So I wonder why the answer for reference doesn't include that one?

    All in all, I hold a dubious attitude toward the exercisebook on hand, besides that, I am not sure about my own instinct. I know my own instinct works only on sth I am familiar with, not on all things and all possibilites.
     
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    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I agree that all three are acceptable. By using "failed to", you indicate the "negative" idea you want to convey regardless of which of the three verbs you choose.

    I would rank the three in order of preference this way: reach, then achieve, then attain - although there is very little to choose between reach and achieve (achieve perhaps being slightly more formal and therefore possibly more appropriate in, for example, a formal report - but in such a report "reach" wouldn't be at all out of place either).
     
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    Deborah White

    Senior Member
    Korean Korea
    I think the problem may be linked with Korean language because I did not have any particular problem with these verbs...
    So I think the best help you could get would be from somebody who knows both Korean and English and therefore can "come to the point" (as opposed to quoting one language dictionaries about the individual meaning of these words).
    But I don't fully believe in ordinary non-Native English-speakers. They do the same thing as me, consulting different authoratative sources. Maybe some are not as careful as I am.
    The experts are often unapproachable.

    I used to regard textbooks as authoratative. But this assumed status of textbooks is often dubious nowadays.
     
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    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    I think you should not fully believe even native speakers.:)
    (On the other hand, somebody who speaks both Korean and English may well be a native English speaker...)

    However, as both an English learner and teacher I can tell you that there are certain things that only those who learnt the language as a foreign language know better. For instance, the main problems they met when doing so and what is the "thing" that helped them to understand the trick. (If there is one.)
     

    Marsu_BZH

    New Member
    Francais - France
    Hi all,

    I regularly have to review scientific articles in which the authors use "realize" where I think it is akward and I would use "achieve". I am competent to judge the technical aspects but, as a non native-speaker, I am not always confident to correct the english. For example, is the following sentence correct or should "achieve" be used instead of "realize"?
    "At a UVT of 87% the realized degradation of 77% satisfied the target conversion of 80%"
    Are "realize" and "achieve" equivalent?
    Thank you.
     
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