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  1. suprunp's Avatar
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    #1

    To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    American Heritage Dictionary
    v. tr.
    1. To gain as an objective; achieve:
    attain a diploma by hard work.
    v. intr.
    To succeed in a directed effort, process, or progression:
    eventually attained to wisdom. (He who has attained to only some degree of freedom of mind... [I've just read this in one book and it was actually the cause of my posting this question])
    Collins
    1. (tr) to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc.)
    2. (intr; often foll by to) to arrive (at) with effort or exertion

    Q: I just can't quite put my finger on the difference between the transitive and intransitive usage of the verb "attain". Can it be that the former lays stress on my achievement/accomplishment of something, whereas the latter accentuates my efforts/energy I had to put in while achieving/accomplishing something?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    The example you give sounds strange to me - it could be a BrE/AmE difference - as I would remove of after degree, which would make it transitive.

  2. suprunp's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The example you give sounds strange to me - it could be a BrE/AmE difference - as I would remove of after degree, which would make it transitive.
    Would you please write your 'revised sentence' that would sound acceptable to you, because right now I don't see how the verb "attain" can be turned into a transitive one because of removing of after degree.

    Thanks.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    He who has attained to only some degree of freedom of mind..

  4. suprunp's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    He who has attained to only some degree of freedom of mind..
    Thank you, fivejedjon. But what is the difference between this one and my example? Or is it simply a matter of personal preference?

  5. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: To attain (tr. vs intr.)

    Quote Originally Posted by suprunp View Post
    Thank you, fivejedjon. But what is the difference between this one and my example? Or is it simply a matter of personal preference?
    The example with 'to' sounds strange to me - as it did to Tdol. My Concise Oxford Dictionary gives a similar example (with 'to), but I have never seen or heard it used.

    COCA gives 2251 examples of 'attain', and only 31 of 'attain to'.

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