According to Longman, I think I can use "aimed at ing" and "aiming to v" both.

GRAMMAR: Patterns with aim

• You aim to do something:

I aim to study medicine.

✗Don’t say: I aim at studying medicine.

• An action is aimed at doing something:

Our policies are aimed at encouraging economic growth.

✗Don’t say: Our policies are aimed to encourage economic growth.Longman

Then are these sentences both okay?:

To improve sharing of information between two countries aimed at strengthening the safety control, we will blah blah...


To improve sharing of information between two countries aiming to strengthen the safety control, we will blah blah...

What is the difference between aimed at and aiming to here?

  • As it stands, the first sentence makes no sense. It says that the two countries are aimed at strengthening safety control, which of course they aren’t – countries aren’t activities that can be aimed at anything. The second sentence mentions two (hypothetical) countries who are aiming to strengthen safety control, which does make sense, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what you want to say. Presumably, what you’re trying to say is that the sharing of information between two countries is what is aimed at improving safety control, but neither version says that. Jul 25, 2019 at 11:37
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Oh then how can I revise it? Jul 25, 2019 at 11:43
  • It’s not an easy sentence to unclutter; it’s never going to be elegant if all the elements have to be there in one sentence. But “In order to improve the information sharing between countries which is aimed at strengthening safety control, we will…” is at least clear. Does it specifically have to be between two countries? Which two countries? Can it not just be “In order to improve international information sharing, aimed at strengthening safety control, we will…”? That is much more natural. Jul 25, 2019 at 11:46
  • Yeah it’s the letter between two countries, so it can’t be the international sharing. Maybe can I say “in order to our two countries’ information sharing aimed at ....”? And thank you for your help! Jul 25, 2019 at 11:48
  • Ah, so it’s two specific countries. That makes it easier as well. “In order to better share information between our two countries to strengthen safety control, we will…” is very natural too. It doesn’t use aimed at specifically, but the idea is pretty much the same. Jul 25, 2019 at 11:50

2 Answers 2


The difference is between two different uses of the verb to aim. One is literal and means to direct something at a target while the other is more figurative and means to have the intention to carry out a course of action or achieve a certain goal.

In the first case this means that we can say "I saw a man holding a gun, the gun was aimed at me"; "The stone was aimed at the window but fell short and landed in the garden"; "I aimed a punch at his head" or even "In the computer game I aimed my mega blaster at the alien". In all of these there is a more or less real target (even though the mega blaster and the alien only exist on the computer screen or VR headset) so we say aimed at.

In the second case we can say "When I graduated from university I aimed to have a career in the financial sector"; "I set off early in the morning aiming to walk to York by nightfall"; "When I struck out I aimed to knock his hat off" or even "When I began to play the game I aimed to beat my brother's score by killing more aliens than he did". In all of these examples there is an intention which has been formed in the person's mind and the aim is to complete the action or achieve the ambition even though the intention in the case of the hat is very short term. Because the aim in these cases is an intention rather than a physical action we say aim to.

Note that, in order to knock off the hat, I would have to aim at it in some way but that is to do with the physical action I would take in order to achieve the more abstract goal of knocking it off.

As an aside there is also the form aim for. This is rather more like aim at than aim to but the targets can be less well defined. It can be used in sentences like "I aimed for his hat but missed and struck him above his left eye". "After graduating from university I aimed for a position as an actuary". Note these examples are more specific than the aimed to examples but are less concrete than the aimed at examples.

  • Thanks. Then both usages in my sentences would work? Jul 24, 2019 at 2:34
  • They would, because you have structured them appropriately, however I, personally, prefer the 'aiming to' version as the target of the 'aimed at' version is a bit more metaphoric than I think is appropriate.
    – BoldBen
    Jul 25, 2019 at 16:58

Consider that reinforce sharing sounds awkward. Improve sharing and make sharing more efficient both sound natural. Also consider that information which aims at improving safety is pretty weak information. I would rather have effective safety information.

Both sentences are poor because they are verbose and reinforce sharing sounds odd. These are better:

To strengthen safety control, we will share information better.


We aim to strengthen safety control with improved information sharing.


We will strengthen safety control with improved information sharing.


To improve the sharing of safety-control information, we will...


Better information sharing means better safety control.

Good English is clear and concise.

  • Thanks but this is a translation from another language so I can't change the whole structure. There is another long main clause (we will blah blah). I changed the sentence to "to improve sharing..." instead of reinforce though. Thank you. Jul 24, 2019 at 1:17
  • @Mango Gummy You are very welcome.
    – user355537
    Jul 24, 2019 at 1:19

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