From Vocabulary in Guide part of ABC of Plain Words by Sir E Gowers (1951)

This word implies successful effort, and should not be treated as merely the equivalent of getting or reaching, as in the phrase, which I believe is not unknown, "Officers achieving redundancy". There is an air of dignity about 'achieve' which may lead writers astray and produce sentences like "this was impossible of achievement", in preference to the simpler "this could not be done".

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