Hello all you English enthusiasts, could someone give me some clarification between the differences of the phrases below? First time posting here, thank you in adnvace for taking this tread into consideration!

"the new law 'aims at' reducing crime rate"
"the new law 'aims to' reduce crime rate"

What are the differences between these two forms? Which form is more appropriate under what situation?

An old book of mine that deals with prepositional idioms and phrasal verbs says:

"The normal idiom is to aim at something (e.g. aim at a target, aim a blow at someone or something, aim a stone at the window, etc.). In strict British English the only part of a verb that can follow aim is the gerund (aim at doing something) but over the past few years the infinitive has been gaining ground (e.g. The council aims to build five hundred new houses this year), and perhaps ultimately we shall have to accept it, but until that time arrives it is better avoided."

For me, "ultimately" has arrived.Emotion: smile I see nothing wrong with using the infinitive instead ofat + gerund, nor do I detect any difference in meaning.

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If there is any difference at all, it is that 'aim to' still retains a whiff of pioneer American English ('Ah aims ta marry thet li'l gal, come hell er high water!"; hence it may be a bit more casual.
I just saw your site and thought that you might help me. Is the verb "aim" used with "that"? Or could it be at least tried when there is no other option? For example:

The campaign aims that the water resources are protected and developed.

An answer would be much appreciated.

Jack Hamann
No, Jack, you cannot do that in standard English.
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I have always found the collocation AIM AT +ing in dictionaries and grammar texts . It seems to me that colloquial English has allowed the use of TO inf in a lot of collocations that did not use to be framed like that. My theory is that the coming of other languages in co-existance with English interferes in the use of the latter and regular use customises language. Then it spreads quickly thanks to technology and it's finally accepted due to massive acquisition of the new collocation.
Both are fine. It's the use of the prepositions that changes the forms from infinitive to gerund. Do I make any sense to you?
SerraAvatar"the new law 'aims at' reducing crime rate" v.s."the new law 'aims to' reduce crime rate"
Just to make a small addition to what has already been said, I'd like to say that to my ear, the form with "to reduce" makes the statement sound more confident of success than the "at reducing" form. My impression about this may be idiosyncratic.

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To add to what has already been said:

Aim can generally be used in three forms:
1. Aim to : This form is specifically and colloquially used to express an intention to achieve, a purpose to achieve. Also to add to it, this usage is employed when aim is used as an intransitive verb, i.e. no direct object. Correct construction is Aim to + verb (infinitive is the complement of the verb).
Example: I aim to complete all my work by this weekend.
2. Aim for: This usage is also common in intransitive forms of aim, but is not necessarily bounded to it. Such construction is also used to showcase a desire, an intent, or a purpose to achieve. In transitive usage, it is used to show the intent of direction towards something. Correct construction is Aim for+noun (for preposition is followed by noun).
Example: I aim for success.
3. Aim at : This is necessarily a transitive usage of the verb aim, and is particularly used in places where aim is used in sense to direct towards something. It can also show the act of directing or aiming at something, a target or a plan of action. In transitive usage, correct construction is Aim At+noun (at used as preposition). In intransitive usages, in which this form is used to express a purpose, or a plan of action, strict British English construction is Aim at+ gerund form.
Examples: Please aim at the target. I aim at completing this task.

I hope this sentence can sum up the difference in the best possible way:
You aim to succeed but you aim for success. And you aim at succeeding.
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