I have the sentence below:

"I want to work with this professor and utilize his expertise to resolve my problem."

The connotation of "utilize" in the sentence above feels like I am exploiting the professor to resolve my problem. Is there a suitable replacement for "utilize" that respects the professor's authority?

1 Answer 1


How about simply "use". Or perhaps "gain the assistance of" or "get the benefit of"?

I want to work with this professor and get the benefit of his expertise to resolve my problem.

by the way there are very few cases where "utilize" is better than "use" or even as good writing, in my view.

  • Thanks for the prompt response! "Use" sounds great. If you don't mind, I have a follow-up question. Would the word "leverage" be appropriate here as well? Dec 26, 2021 at 21:50
  • @StackThrowaway There are many words and phrases that might be used. "Leverage" surely conveys the general idea. In my personal opinion "leverage" carries the suggestion of exploitation rather more strongly than "utilize" does, but I don't think this a matter where there can be any definitive or authoritative answer. Dec 26, 2021 at 22:38
  • 1
    Utilise (utilize US spelling) is not automatically negative. It just means 'use'. We can utilise detergents to remove dirt from clothes. Or utilise other peoples' expertise to solve a problem. Dec 26, 2021 at 23:01
  • @Michael Woke Harvey I did not say or mean to suggest that "utilise", in either spelling, generally carries a negative meaning. The Op did seem to think that it did in this case. I do think that to use "utilise" is almost always poor writing. Dec 26, 2021 at 23:08
  • "to use "utilise" is almost always poor writing" - agree 100% Dec 26, 2021 at 23:14

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