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There is a question I’ve read in a speaking test that I don’t know how to answer.

‘Do you like to give yourself aims or targets?’

To me ‘aims’ and ‘targets’ are synonyms, how do I answer that?

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  • CAE: certificate in advanced english – Paula Ferreira Sep 28 at 3:02
  • Are you interpreting it as an 'either-or' question? I don't think it's meant that way; the two words are intended as near synonyms. – Kate Bunting Sep 28 at 7:48
  • Yes, that is true, haha thanks! – Paula Ferreira Sep 28 at 13:57
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The two words are mostly synonyms, but not entirely.

Target can refer to both:

  • the desired outcome of a plan or wish;
  • the physical spot which is supposed to be hit by a projectile (the bullet from a gun, the arrow from a bow...).

On the other hand, aim can be used only with plans ans wishes.


Please note that the above comments refer to the meanings of the words as nouns. If they are used as verbs, the situation will change, and the following is perfectly fine:

He did not want to be responsible for the death of the prisoner. Therefore he aimed his gun just above the prisoner's left shoulder.


However, the sentence provided refer to outcomes of life, and from my point of view, both words are acceptable.

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