Say a person was granted a responsibility role after working hard. The person accepts the role with gratitude and pride, almost as if it was natural to achieve the role. However the decision of assigning the role is not taken by the person, but their superiors, and the person had the chance of refusing the role if they wanted.

In this situation, I can't find a way to stress the fact that the person took the promotion with "proactivity". Verbs such as "being promoted" or "being granted a role" are in passive form and sound like the person had no choice but to accept, or as if the role was just a promotion instead of a challenge. On the other hand, saying that the person "accepted the role" or "took on the role" leaves out the shade of "promotion" that the other forms retain.

Sample phrase, with an "incorrect" verb taken from above:

"Mere days after his trial, Jonathan was promoted to team leader."

How would you express the phrase in the most expressive way?

  • Unless you're in the military (and perhaps even then, I don't know for sure), everybody has the ability to refuse a promotion. It's always an active choice. Nov 14, 2018 at 10:18
  • Thank you for the comment. In this case "promotion" is really just implicit, as the actual change is just an increase in responsibilities. One can see it as "promotion" as the superiors acknowledge the preparation of the person, but it's not like just being given benefits.
    – phagio
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:45
  • Hi XX, welcome to English Language & Usage. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests: "To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. You must include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used." You can add this using the edit link. For further guidance, see How to Ask, and make sure you also take the Tour (you earn another badge for doing so!) :-) Nov 15, 2018 at 12:04
  • 1
    @Chappo, thank you for pointing out. I fixed my question!
    – phagio
    Nov 15, 2018 at 12:22

2 Answers 2


After months of hard work, the person earned more responsibility.


1 a : to receive as return for effort and especially for work done or services rendered 2 a : to come to be duly worthy of or entitled or suited to // she earned a promotion

b : to make worthy of or obtain for
// the suggestion earned him a promotion

The example sentences both use earn along with promotion, but that doesn't need to be the case. It can be used alongside any kind of reward (or punishment). Although you mention a promotion specifically and it works well with it.

Here, the emphasis is on a person actively doing something that results in recognition. It was the person who put in the effort and made it happen.

Another possibility is to say that after months of hard word, the person distinguished themself.

From Merriam-Webster's definition of distinguish:

2 c : to make noteworthy or remarkable : to give prominence or distinction (see DISTINCTION sense 5) to
// distinguished themselves as pioneers of hip-hop

  • "Earned" sounds more to the point, and has the vibe I was looking for. Thank you!
    – phagio
    Nov 14, 2018 at 15:21

A verb which implies this meaning is graduate (used with to). Refer to the examples in the ODO definition below to see how. The people intending to graduate (to the desired position) are proactively working towards it and hence deserve it (most of the times with the right to even refuse) even if it can only happen through the action of others (like superiors in case of promotion or selectors in case of forming a team).



1.3 (graduate to) Move up to (a more advanced level or position)

‘For the first few years new recruits work under a senior analyst, mastering the fundamentals before graduating to handling fund management issues.’

‘Except for this signing, the coaching staff have relied on players graduating to the first team from the club's training academy.’

  • It may just be what I'm looking for! I can't shake the feeling of it being meant in an academic way, but I'm sure ODO is a reliable source.
    – phagio
    Nov 14, 2018 at 10:47

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