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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 24th, 2012, 03:57 am
eslHQ Zealot
 
Join Date: Feb 9th, 2009
Location: Argentina
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Ana laura is on a distinguished road
Question Accomplish vs achieve vs fulfill

Hello there!

I've always had this doubt..is there any real difference between the verbs 'to accomplish', 'to achieve' and 'to fulfill'.

Since I'm not a native speaker, I am not able to see if there are subtle differences between them..

I would appreciate it if you could help me..

Thank you in advance
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 24th, 2012, 10:20 am
Sue
 
Join Date: Oct 8th, 2006
Location: Milan
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Default Re: Accomplish vs achieve vs fulfill

They overlap, but there tend to be fifferences of collocation. For instance

1. Fulfill (US) /Fulfil (UK) collocates with "things you say and think" eg promise, obligation, requirement, threat, request, hope, aspirations,ambitions, wish, desire etc. It means you do what you said you'd do /wanted to do/were told to do

Presumably a cocktail party is expected to FULFILL the host's desire to get together a number of people
old established independent art schools try their best to FULFILL their obligations.
because they FULFIL a requirement that already exists.


2. All of them can be used with words expressing objectives, but again there is a difference in the frquency of collocation. Checking with a concordancer, the following frequencies came up - you can see that "achieve" is ahead with all of them except "purpose":

objective = fulfil 1/40; achieve 11/40; accomplish 2/40

goal = fulfil 0/40; achieve 14/40; accomplish 0/40.

purpose = fulfil 5/40; achieve 4/40; accomplish 3/40.

target = fulfill 1/40; achieve 2/40; accomplish 0/40

(Notice that 0/40 doesn't mean the collocation doesn't exist - the verbs can all be used with all of the nouns. it's just a matter of how often they're are likely to come up. So 0 or 1/40 against 14/40 shows that "achieve" is far more likely to be used than the other verbs.)


3. Accomplish has the meaning "complete", and there are nouns which collocate with it referring to concrete actions which you couldn't use with either of the others. :
When they can take ten seconds to ACCOMPLISH the descent,...
Large area coverage will ACCOMPLISH all other tasks.


4. With words like "ambition" There's an overlap between 1 (what you want to do), 2 (your objectives), and 3 (completing something). And here, all three verbs collocate equally well.
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