I was trying to compose the following sentence: "This country has no existing agencies for ... such internet surveillance like the US do". What verb should I choose here? I've thought about 'carrying out', 'performing', 'maintaining', but none of them has the meaning I'm looking for (I hope the meaning I'm trying to convey is clear from the context). Any ideas?

By the way, is the sentence otherwise correct?

I think "conducting" is the correct word; I've just found it while looking through suggested questions. But I'm not going to delete the question: maybe someone will find it useful.

  • 3
    According to Google NGrams, the most common verb for your context is indeed conduct - followed by maintain and exercise. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 11:55
  • Implementing is another possible verb. But I personally prefer collapsing everything into the single surveilling, as given in one of the answers. Commented Jun 14, 2019 at 17:17
  • @Jason I'd say that that's unidiomatic, and I think these GoogleNgrams support that claim. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 18:34
  • Is there any reason why you consider 'conducting' better than 'carrying out'? Both mean the same thing. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


Using a Corpus of Contemporary American English collocation search for surveillance preceded by a verb form, the two most relevant results were conduct and do:

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In this case either verb would work: to conduct something means to perform or do something (OLD "conduct_1 verb," passim); to do something means to perform something as an activity (OLD "do1_1 verb," def. 6). So you could say:

This country has no existing agencies for conducting internet surveillance.

This country has no existing agencies for doing internet surveillance.

Addendum: my previous search was great at gauging single-word verbs but not phrasal verbs. So I used COCA to run further searches for "carry out":

  • carry out surveillance - 6 results

  • carried out surveillance - 2 results

  • carrying out surveillance - 3 results

In addition, there are a few phrasal verbs that appear in the passive to denote someone who has had surveillance done on them:

  • caught on surveillance (cameras, videos, etc.) - 34 results

  • captured on surveillance (cameras, videos, etc.) - 18 results

  • placed under surveillance - 12 results

  • The best way to answer. Can you include figures for the MWV 'carry/ying/ied out"? Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 18:36
  • @EdwinAshworth Done. The phrases are harder to search for, but I did the best I could. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 21:43
  • 1
    I can't understand why you get two votes for this fine piece of research, while there are voting frenzies on other threads for ... words fail me (or rather, I've felt it better to censor them). Anyway, my thanks and my single vote. Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 15:32
  • doing surveillance is colloquial
    – Toothrot
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 16:52

Try using the verb form: surveil.

From MW:

transitive verb
: to subject to surveillance

Wording your sentence as:

This country has no existing agencies for surveilling the internet like the US has.

Note, ending with has avoids deciding whether 'the US' requires singular or plural agreement.

  • you seem to have misread the question
    – Toothrot
    Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 16:50

Definition of practice (Entry 1 of 2) in MW Dictionary:

transitive verb

1 b : to do or perform often, customarily, or habitually

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