Learn English – to target at/on/for/towards

meaningphrasal-verbsword-usage

I think I've looked everywhere I could, but I couldn't find any dictionary where the difference between "to target at/on/for/towards" would be explained. Can you please fill me in as to how they are used? I need to explain it to a student and say more than just… "you'll know what to use" 🙂

Best Answer

Perhaps I am missing the point, but 'Target' as a verb is usually used without a preposition following it. As in:

'Let's target a 50% increase in sales this year'.

The passive voice uses prepositions after Target, as witnessed by the following extractions from Cambridge and Oxford online dictionaries, in that order

Screen capture from Cambridge online definition of target

Screen capture from Oxford online definition of target

The use of 'Aim' would include a preposition, as in:

'Let's aim for a 50% increase in sales this year'.

As far as use is concerned (which wasn't the question, but I think it's relevant), 'Target' is less used as a verb than 'Aim', but it's not unknown. Ngram gives the following result for the search 'let's target, let's aim'. I considered searching for 'to target, to aim', but I think the results were skewed by such phrases as 'missile time to target'.

Ngram results for let's target vs let's aim

Testing 'We'll aim, We'll target' gave the following results:

Ngram results for We'll aim, We'll target