Executing, accomplishing, performing

When a task is being done, far simpler alternatives are available. Quite aside from “to do” (of course) the one commonly overlooked is to “carry out“.

Which is actually a bit surprising, as it’s not all that far from an everyday Dutch verb with much the same meaning: uitvoeren. Dutch writers have a big tendency to bring out the kinds of thesaurus-based synonyms listed above.

  • Reserve words like excecute and perform for legal contexts and running computer programs, or maybe a precise miltary manoeuvre.
  • Reserve words like accomplish and achieve for something that might have been a target that was genuinely tricky to attain, not just any old activity

There’s nothing informal or unacceptable about carry out or do. Or in the right context, make or finish or sort out or take care of.

Prevalence: very high. Whenever the writer feels that an air of precision is needed.
Frequency: high. A common (if minor) problem.
Native: no. They’re all perfectly good words, but only for occasional use in the correct register and context.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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