Saturday, September 10, 2011


Obtain = come into possession of; gain by planned action: ‘I obtained the copy of the original letter.’

When you are talking about something that takes a long time and a great amount of work or effort, use achieve (NOT obtain): ‘By the end of the course you really feel that you have achieved something.’ ‘The company intends to achieve these goals within the next five years.’ ‘Her only purpose in life was to achieve stardom.’

Obtain is mainly used in formal styles: ‘Information about visas and passports can be obtained from your local library.’

The usual word for this meaning is get: ‘How long does it take to get a visa?’

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