Quick Tip 9: obtain和attain

The words “obtain” and “attain” sound similar, but have different meanings.

The word “obtain” means “to get”. You can obtain physical things like reagents or non-physical things like results. Here’s an example:

These results were obtained by chromatin immunoprecipitation.

That means that the researchers used chromatin immunoprecipitation to get these results.

The word “attain” means “to achieve”. Here’s an example:

Our simulation study attained similar performance to that of the compared methods.

This means that their simulation achieved similar performance.

To review: You obtain something when you get or receive it. You attain something when you achieve it as an objective.