As a native speaker of English, I have to admit that I don't really like either of these.  They both work, kind of, but also, kind of not.

I'm sure that if this were a test or workbook question, you would have told us, and then told us which answer you thought was the best and why you thought so.  You would never just ask us to do your homework for you.

But since that can't possibly be the case, where does your question come from?


When I think of a meaning or a sentence  which i can't translate well from my native language into English , I send it to your page for help. Now, would you please tell me how to express that meaning in a better way . By the way, there is another similar question. Can you tell me how to express " achieve an achievement" In a better way.


Thanks in advance.

would you please tell me how to express that meaning in a better way .

My suggestion: Hard work is the key to success.

 Can you tell me how to express " achieve an achievement" In a better way.

To avoid the redundancy, you can use "make," and an adjective will usually be found as a modifier for "achievement," as in:

make a great achievement

Yama, thank you for the information.

Gustavo, thanks for stepping up here.  Your example:

3: Hard work is the key to success.

sounds much more natural, and, in fact, I've heard people use that very phrase, or something quite close to it.

It is possible to refer to a "path of success", but for me this a series of events or actions that has led to someone's success:

4: He hurt many people along his path to success.

As to Yama's new question, all three of us agree that "achieve an achievement" sounds totally wrong, and the redundancy makes this particularly obvious, but the obviousness masks a deeper issue: "achievement" doesn't work as a direct object to either "achieve" or "make", nor frankly to any other verb I can think of offhand.  In my mind, the word that needs to be changed here is not "achieve", but "achievement":

  • achieve great things
  • achieve one's goal(s)
  • achieve success
  • achieve the respect of one's peers

Of course, "achievement" is a noun, and it works perfectly well in other positions within a sentence:

a: He was proud of his achievement.
b: His achievement will long be remembered.
c: I forget.  What was his achievement?

As I am writing this, I see that I have just contradicted myself!  (b) is an inversion of:

b': We will always remember his achievement.

So it's clear that "achievement" does work perfectly well as a direct object with a certain type of verb.  The technical term escapes me (Gustavo or David could certainly tell you), but it involves mental processes rather than physical activity.  In addition to (b'), we have:

d: I respect his achievement in the field of semantics.
e: I'm sure some of you appreciate his achievement.

When I started writing this, I wasn't sure why Gustavo's suggestion bothered me, but after I realized my own error, I started to think along the lines of passivization, by which I mean, a sentence in the active voice with a transitive verb (and therefore, necessarily, a direct object of the verb), should be able to be rewritten in the passive voice.  So, to illustrate, I tried fleshing Gustavo's phrase out into a complete sentence and doing the same with the four phrases that I suggested as alternatives.  Gustavo's phrase, in a complete sentence, might be something like:

G: She will make a great achievement.

In the passive, this becomes:

G(pass): A great achievement will be made (by her).

which I didn't like.  So I tried it out with my alternatives (which I had designated G1 - 4), and was met with mixed success.  Consider:

G4: She will achieve the respect of her peers.
G4(pass): The respect of her peers will be achieved (by her).

With or without "by her", (G4(pass)) is ghastly.  That made me question whether (G4) worked in the first place.  Certainly, no one would question "earn the respect" or "gain the respect", but the sentence still wouldn't work in the passive voice.  To some extent, I had to throw my passivization test out the window.  However, I noticed that my "mental verb" examples (d) and (e) work perfectly well in the passive:

d(pass): His achievement in the field of semantics is respected (by me).
e(pass): I'm sure that his achievement is appreciated (by some of you).

Writing this has been an education for me.  I hope it will be helpful to you as well, Yama, and not just confusing.

I'll be very interested to hear feedback from Gustavo and David on this.


PS: I was in contact with Gustavo about this thread, and he encouraged me to write this.  Well, not "this", exactly, but something.

I learn as I teach.  A teacher who does not learn as he teaches is a fool and not fit to teach.

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