I am struggling to find the right verb to describe taking actions to realize a goal.

Specifically, here is a sentence I am trying to write in an elegant and terse manner :

The government first decides what the public good is, and then acts towards realizing it.

That feels wrong as "realizing the public good" does not really make sense.

I could say :

"The government first decides what the public good is, and then acts towards making it a reality."

But I would much prefer to have a more specific and descriptive verb, or turn of phrase. Indeed that would be useful in other contexts as well.

Such a verb would also be useful in a sentence following the previous one, for example:

They delegated the job to determine what the public good is to commission A, and the job to realize it to commission B.

Again, realize is wrong here, and I am trying to find the correct verb.

  • ... and then aims to achieve it. But, "the public good" isn't itself an aim or realisation: a government takes measures which themselves are "in the public good." Nov 18, 2022 at 16:59
  • 1
    I would suggest that your problem is with “public good”. This is an abstract concept which can be descriptive of a concrete situation. It is that situation that government policies in the public good aim to achieve or realize — not the public good. So I think you need to go back to the drawing board. Exactly what @WeatherVane wrote while I was writing this.
    – David
    Nov 18, 2022 at 17:02
  • @David, yes I had edited the previous comment. Nov 18, 2022 at 17:04
  • ah, that's a great point. My problem is that I need to keep the term "public good" (it is a key term in the essay that I am working on).
    – DevShark
    Nov 18, 2022 at 17:12
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    Many questions asking for a single word are completely ridiculous. This one is not. Cheers.
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:30

6 Answers 6


Question sentence: The government first decides what the public good is, and then acts towards realizing it.

I would use:

takes action to achieve it. Or: implements policies to achieve it.

Just one example from among more than 700, 000 examples via google:

Government failures where officials seek the public interest. In order to understand the most important types of governmental failure, assume for the moment that the government actors are public spirited. That is, assume that the people drafting and enforcing the rules are competent, well-informed, and wish to achieve the public good in the area of privacy protection. Even under these optimistic assumptions, government privacy regulation will lead to administrative costs on government and taxpayers, and compliance costs on industry. [bolding mine]

theory of markets and privacy

Couldn't resist posting another one:

Reflecting on the growing control of markets over societies, he [Professor Michael Sandel] said: “Reagan and Thatcher introduced the idea that market mechanisms are the primary instruments for achieving the public good. When the financial crisis came many of us assumed that now finally would come a robust public debate about the proper reach of money and markets in society. But it came and went and we haven’t seen in democratic societies a more fundamental debate about where markets serve the public good and where they don’t belong.” [bolding mine]

Oxford Martin School

  • Ah nice. I thought "to achieve the public good" does not make sense, but apparently it is a valid thing to say. Does this phrase sound natural to your hear? Or is it only a literary one?
    – DevShark
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:14
  • @DevShark All of the options are formal English. It is not literary per se. The word achieve is used in many, many contexts including education, government and business. The two examples I quoted are pretty much your context. :)
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:27
  • Great, thanks a lot. That is perfect for my use case.
    – DevShark
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:28
  • When I see the word shark, all I can think of is that kids' song. Baby Shark. :) :) It drives me nuts.
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:29
  • 1
    Haha, nice. That's good, it brings a little music in this world then :D
    – DevShark
    Nov 21, 2022 at 13:30

Arguably it's a bit dated (it's far less common than it was a couple of centuries ago), but...

The government first decides what the public good is, and then acts to promote it.

promote (Cambridge Dictionary)
to encourage the existence or development of something

For OP's second example, promote is still fine if you don't mind interpreting it from a somewhat Victorian perspective (the modern ear would more likely assume the promotion = advertising sense). But I'd prefer a different verb there...

They assigned the job of determining what the public good is to Commission A, and the job of implementing it to Commission B

Note that I see nothing wrong with realising there, and I don't really have a preference for one over the other.



other examples:

  1. Leadership is about the ability to implement change.
  2. He tried to implement a technocratic economic policy.
  3. It's still not clear how far the Russian parliament will go to implement its own plans.

Perhaps a phrase would offer you more room to be specific:

The government first decides what the public good is, then takes steps towards its fulfillment.


Undertake (Wiktionary)

(transitive) To take upon oneself; to start, to embark on (a specific task etc.).

(intransitive) To commit oneself (to an obligation, activity etc.).

The government first decides what the public good is, then undertakes to implement/realise/accomplish/attain it.

You can also say

The government first decides what the public good is, then starts its implementation.


materialize should work well in the given context.

Here's The American Heritage Dictionary:

To cause to become real Or actual

By building the house, we materialized a dream.

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