I was asked what the differences are in usage between these three, but I think I probably confused things more than I helped. I guess mostly it's a matter of style? I wondered if anyone had a good explanation.

  • 2
    More food for thought here and here.
    – Enlico
    Aug 18, 2017 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


You aim for a goal. If you aim for the stars, that's what you want to achieve: high success.

You aim at a target. If you aim at the stars, you'll unlikely hit them, as they are far away. You arrow will hit the ground.

But you could also aim at doing something

You aim to reach a goal. You need a verb. You aim to succeed but you aim for success. And you aim at succeeding. (Although, the last phrase doesn't have the same thing to it.)

  • 3
    Nice and clear, thanks! Better received than my effort :)
    – dslh
    Sep 20, 2015 at 18:14
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    I might be slow, but what's the difference between "You aim to succeed" and "You aim at succeeding" ? May 2, 2018 at 9:17
  • @DanChaltiel: In my opinion it's a question of style, they mean the same thing. I can't think of any examples where they are not interchangeable.
    – dslh
    Feb 18, 2020 at 10:19

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