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  1. #1
    Mehrgan's Avatar
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    Question Attain, obtain, and gain...

    Hi there,

    Is there any straightforward hint to help notice the difference among them? And what kind of collocations could we think of in each case...


    Thanks in advance...

  2. #2
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    Re: Attain, obtain, and gain...

    Any ideas? I've already looked them up in dictionaries, but I'm wondering if there were sth more distinctive...thanks...

  3. #3
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    Re: Attain, obtain, and gain...

    I've just spent some time looking at these on Dictionary.com, and the truth is that I'm not sure there's any easy way to explain the difference!

    These are the definitions that come closest to clarifying the distinction for me:

    attain (verb used with object)
    to come to or arrive at, esp. after some labor or tedium; reach: to attain the age of 96; to attain the mountain peak.

    obtain (verb used with object)
    to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request: to obtain permission; to obtain a better income. [ I think this is the most general of the three - not as much effort is required to obtain as to attain.]

    gain (verb used with object)
    1. to get (something desired), esp. as a result of one's efforts: to gain possession of an object; to gain permission to enter a country. [This usage is synonymous with attain and obtain.]
    2. to acquire as an increase or addition: to gain weight; to gain speed. [This is the most distinctive meaning.]

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    tedtmc is offline Key Member
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    Re: Attain, obtain, and gain...

    To attain is to reach something - status, position, level, etc, something abstract.

    To obtain/gain is to get something which can be something physical or abtract. Gain and obtain can be used interchangeably.

    not a teacher

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Attain, obtain, and gain...

    Not always- you gain weight, but you don't obtain it.

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