Can I say

something improves employment opportunities to somebody

when expressing

something provides more employment opportunities to somebody

If it's correct to say improves employment opportunities, is it better than using provides as stated in my question? Is there a difference?

  • Hi, Grace, what is something? Can you provide more context where the sentences would be used? I posted an answer and realized that choosing the right verb could depend on your context. I deleted my post. – user24743 Jan 12 '16 at 5:53
  • So long as your "something" is a noun or a noun phrase, I like it. – lurker Jan 12 '16 at 6:36
  • @Rathony I wanted express that bilingual education provides more employment opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged students. A friend advised me to use the word 'improve' but will this expression indicate that I think some jobs are superior than others? (My friend is sleeping and we don't share the same time zone, so I asked this question on ell) – Iris Gao Jan 12 '16 at 6:44
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    Hi Grace - you may want to edit your question to include the information in your comment. I think it's an interesting question. – ColleenV parted ways Jan 12 '16 at 11:22

Industries provide employment opportunities. Education increases employment opportunities. Improves is not used as often in this context.

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Do you mean educational opportunities while bring educated or educational opportunities as a result of being educated?

If you mean the first one, use provides, and if you mean the second one, use increases:

Bilingual education increases employment opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged students


Education is an important tool that increases employment opportunities for women.


See the related Google search for education "increases employment opportunities".

In sum, if you mean that bilingual education leads to higher job participation rates (more people getting jobs), then either increases or improves is fine. The former is more common. Using improves in this context can refer only to job quantities (the number of jobs available to people). It does not have to imply that some jobs are better than others. However, to move further away from this implication, use increases.

{This answer written by a native speaker of American English and teacher of ESL/EFL}

  • Considering the OP's context, it is not wrong to use "improve employment opportunities". See NgramViewer and type in [education "improves employment opportunites" and you will get a lot of results. I actually posted similar answer, but changed my post. – user24743 Jan 12 '16 at 11:18
  • "Improves opportunities" has a different connotation to me than "increases opportunities" - one is raising the overall quality of the opportunities, the other is changing how many opportunities there are. Lowering my salary expectations would increase my job opportunities. Learning a trade would improve my job opportunities. Granted, most folks aren't as precise in their language as I tend to be. – ColleenV parted ways Jan 12 '16 at 11:31
  • @ColleenV so you prefer to use the word 'improve', right? I think this word is good but I'm a little bit concerned that this expression would indicate that I think some jobs are superior than others – Iris Gao Jan 12 '16 at 11:53
  • @ColleenV Do you disagree that Getting training, learning a trade, getting an education increase employment opportunities? – GoDucks Jan 12 '16 at 11:58
  • @GoDucks after reading you comments, I think 'increase' is a good alternative. but I am not sure which one is more apt here... – Iris Gao Jan 12 '16 at 12:06

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