1. Ways of saying what the aim or purpose of something is aim to do something to try to achieve something:
• This paper aims to show how science and technology have influenced the work of artists.
• The research aims to answer two questions. First, what causes the disease? Second, is it possible to find a cure?
• In this study, we aimed to record the number of birds who returned to the same woodland for a second summer.
set out to do something to try to achieve something. You use set out to do something especially when talking about someone’s original aims when they start to do something:
• The organization never achieved what it set out to do.
• The first chapter sets out to explain the origins of modern science.
• The authors set out to show how men’s and women’s language are different from each other.
in order to so that someone can do something, or so that something can happen:
• Tests were carried out in order to find out if the drug had any side effects.
be intended to do something if something is intended to do something, it is done for that purpose:
• The course is intended to provide a basic introduction to molecular biology.
• The dams were intended to control the flooding which affects the river in winter.
be supposed to do something / be meant to do something to be intended
to have a particular result or effect. You use these phrases especially when something actually fails to achieve what was originally planned:
• The film is supposed to be a serious drama.
• The scheme was meant to improve the city’s image.
2. Words meaning aim or purpose
aim noun [countable] what you want to achieve when you do something:
• The main aims of the project are as follows.
• The main aim of the study is to investigate the way in which young people deal with the stress of exams.
• The bank achieved its aim of attracting 50,000 customers by the end of the year.
• One of the aims of this chapter is to explain Freud’s theory of the mind.
• My aim in this article is to examine ways in which the present system could be improved.
• A cure for cancer is our ultimate aim. (=the most important aim, which you hope one day to achieve)
purpose noun [countable] the reason why you do something, and the thing that you want to achieve when you do it:
• He did not tell them about the purpose of his visit.
• The main purpose of education is to help people to lead satisfying and productive lives.
• The main purpose of the changes is to reduce costs and improve the service to customers.
• The United Nations was established for the purpose of protecting basic human rights.
• The information will be used for research purposes.
• Many plants from the rainforest are used for medical purposes.
objective noun [countable] the thing that someone is trying to achieve, especially in business or politics:
• The policy has three main objectives: firstly, to increase food production; secondly, to improve the distribution of food; and finally, to improve the diet of ordinary people.
• The principal objective of any company is to make money for its shareholders.
• The government is unlikely to achieve its long-term objective of cutting CO2 emissions.
goal noun [countable] something that a person or organization hopes to achieve in the future, even though this may take a long time:
• It took Mandela over forty years to achieve his goal of a democratic South Africa.
• The company’s long-term goal is to be the market leader in this type of technology.
• World leaders have set themselves the goal of getting rid of child poverty.
target noun [countable] the exact result, often a number or an amount of something, that a person or organization intends to achieve:
• The University is expected to reach its target of 5000 students next September.
(=achieve its target)
• They failed to meet their target of having a computer in every classroom.
• He set himself the target of raising over $1 million for cancer research.
intention noun [uncountable and countable] something that you intend to do:
• Their intention was to sail on February 10th, but bad weather made this impossible.
• She went to Hollywood with the intention of starting a career in movies. (=that was the reason she went there)
• Rafsanjani said that Iran had no intention of developing nuclear weapons. (=they definitely did not intend to do this)
• The reader can never be 100% sure of the writer’s original intentions.
• It was never their intention to encourage people to break the law.
• It is not my intention here to give a detailed account of all the events that led up to the war.
mission noun [countable] something that a person or organization hopes to achieve,
which they consider to be very important and forms the basis of their activities:
• The agency’s mission is to provide medical and psychological help to victims of the war.
• Our mission is to educate people about the disease.
• The students are on a mission to record and preserve the history of their area. (=they are trying hard to do something, because they feel it is very important)
the point noun [singular] the purpose of doing something and the reason why it is right or necessary:
• The point of the experiment is to show how different metals react with oxygen.
• People sometimes find it difficult to see the point of studying subjects such as Latin at school. (=they find it difficult to understand why it is necessary)
• He felt that his critics were completely missing the point. (=they failed to understand
the most important purpose or reason for something)
ends noun [plural] the result that someone is trying to achieve, when this is bad or dishonest:
• Several politicians were accused of trying to exploit the situation for their own ends.
(=use it in order to get advantages for themselves)
• The terrorists will do almost anything to achieve their ends.