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In my English workbook there is an exercise to match words with their description. I'm confused by the following match that've been made by the authors (I checked it in answers section):

implement - make something that has been decided start to happen

bring about - make something happen

There are examples: implement a change, bring about change.

As for me, implementation sounds more like a whole process from beginning to the end, so I opted for the opposite match.

So could someone please dispel my doubts and explain the difference? Would you agree with such descriptions of the words?

  • The two definitions are not the same. How can we tell what "matches" what? You don't provide any information about that. – Lambie Jun 28 '18 at 17:05
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Bring about is broader, meaning

cause to happen

One way they can bring about political change is by putting pressure on the country.

{Collins}

The agent, as here, may be volitional, but natural causes are equally possible:

The first rain in months brought about mudslides when it hit [areas] that were scorched by ... December's large wildfires.

..............

Implement needs a volitional agent, as it means

put into practical effect; carry out: implement the new procedures {AHD}

...

carry out; put into action; perform: implement a plan {Collins}

There needs to be a plan / set of rules already in existence, which are put into effect (implemented).

..............

'Change' works with either verb, as it may but need not imply a pre-existing goal.

........................................

regarding telicity

Macmillan does not insist that bring about obligatorily refers to a completed effect. Though it gives

bring about

to make something happen, especially to cause changes in a situation

it adds the possibility of an inchoative rather than a telic interpretation:

related words: to make something start to exist or happen: ... trigger ...

.............

For implement, ODO seems only to license a telic (completed change) usage:

implement verb [with object]

Put (a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect.

though CED seems to add an inchoative licensing

to start using a plan or system: The changes to the national health system will be implemented next year.

So while 'implementation means a whole process from beginning to end, a done deal, the completed transformation' (which goes beyond what you're saying) bears thinking about, it is over-prescriptive. I'd say 'bring about' is at least as telically orientated.

  • 'Change' works with either verb - what will be a case when one should be preferred over the other? I can't catch the subtle difference in meaning when the words are put in the same sentence. – Lia Jun 29 '18 at 8:15
  • 'The ice ages brought about vast changes in the geology of the area' / 'We need to implement these [proposed] changes without further delay'. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 29 '18 at 8:27
  • Couldn't it be said: We need to bring about these [proposed] changes without further delay'? – Lia Jun 29 '18 at 8:33
  • Not if they're changes to the law, say. Use 'We need to implement these newly made changes to the law without further delay' as an unequivocal example. // But I realise that I haven't addressed telicity (related to whether 'implementation sounds more like [it involves] a whole process from beginning to the end' is correct), so I'll add this to the answer. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 29 '18 at 8:45

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