Success, failure and difficulty


I managed to contact him just before he left his office.
I don’t think I can manage the whole walk. I think I’ll turn back, [manage, but not succeed, may have a direct object in this meaning]
We succeeded in persuading a lot of people to join our protest, [in + -ing]
We’ve achieved/accomplished a great deal in the last three years, [both are used with quantity phrases such as ‘a lot’/‘a little’]
The company has achieved all its goals/aims/targets for this year [achieve is more common than accomplish with nouns expressing goals and ambitions]
D’you think his plan will come off? [succeed; informal]

Matrix for some typical collocations with ‘succeeding’ verbs


– Plans and projects often go wrong or misfire, [don’t turn out as intended]
– Companies, clubs and societies often fold through lack of success, [close down]
– A plan or project may falter, even if it finally succeeds, [go through ups and downs]
– All your plans and hard work/efforts may come to nothing.


– I have great difficulty in getting up in the morning. I find it difficult to remember the names of everybody in the class, [hard can be used here; it is more informal]
– It’s hard/difficult to hear what she’s saying.
– I often have trouble starting the car on cold mornings.
– We’ve had a lot of bother with the neighbours lately.
– Can you cope with three more students? They’ve just arrived.
– I’ve no money, my girl-friend’s left me; I need help; I just can’t cope any more.