I've stumbled upon this sentence and to me it just sounds a bit off:

The selection of shops is accomplished by our company.

I've never seen accomplished used in that context and I was just wondering if using a word such as "carried out" would sound more natural or if this is indeed a valid usage of accomplished.

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    They're not synonymous, though there are situations where either can be used without changing meaning. In this case, a much better solution would be to use the active instead of the passive. The point is to say that your company selects the shops, so why not just say Our company selects the shops? Mar 20, 2014 at 16:49
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    I didn't write the sentence, I just saw it in some older company documents and got curious about the wording. But I do agree that the active would be a better fit.
    – Haris
    Mar 20, 2014 at 17:08

3 Answers 3


Technically, it's not incorrect, but... it does sound strange. In business writing, attempts are made to include buzz-words for psychological effect. "Accomplish" is one of these, probably because it implies an achieved success. With this in mind, shop selection is hardly a business achievement to brag about, so the phrasing is awkward psychologically as well.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/buzzword : a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, field of study, popular culture, etc.

  • ... and technically not incorrect is the best kind of not incorrect? Mar 20, 2014 at 17:16
  • Nah, actually "technically not incorrect" is about as far as you can go before being actually incorrect :) Technically, it's not incorrect to cross the street at a corner even if cars are coming. Although with language, if you say it over and over again enough times, it actually will become correct.
    – Stew
    Mar 23, 2014 at 21:52
  • ...yeah, that was a Futurama reference Mar 24, 2014 at 0:53

This is a fine example of the worst kind of business writing. Passive voice, poor choice of verb (motivation for this choice, I don't even care to guess) and almost completely devoid of content. All the sentence really says is "Our company selects the shops." The choice of "accomplish" rather than some other cousin of "do" is almost the least of its sins.


A typical example of managerial jargon, execbot synthblabber. Until the business world took it over, the word "accomplish" was formerly associated with tasks of some magnitude, preferably those carried out over a longish period of time. "I set myself the goal of winning an Olympic gold medal, and finally accomplished it last year." In that role it seems to have displaced the word "achieve" in recent times. But it's inappropriate to use either word to describe the carrying out of routine tasks, such as "the selection of shops". If doing something wouldn't at least cause you to have a celebratory drink when you'd finished, it doesn't merit the word "accomplish".

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