1 In setting objectives, the advice – start all objectives with a verb has advantages.
2 It helps to ensure that the Users of the advice:
(a) actually write an objective
(b) become familiar with various types of verbs for particular situations and can think of them more readily.
(c) begin to distinguish between verbs which lead to specific objectives as opposed to those which lead to non-specific objectives.
Examples of Non-Specific Verbs
Discuss versus List/Identify
3 The verb “Discuss” can describe an activity where a group of people contribute a few ideas on a particular topic. Thus it proves easy to achieve the objective – Discuss “X” (where “X” can stand for anything)
4 However if the objective states (e.g.) list the advantages and disadvantages or identify the elements or principles which will help to achieve these verbs lead to a (Specific) in relation to the discussion topic.
5 Objective Setters learn that the words “improve” and “increase” introduce directional objectives.Anyone can achieve these objectives quite easily by a very small improvement and/or a small increase. When faced with an objective which begins with these verbs people should learn to ask the questions – “Just how much improvement?” and “How much increase?”
6 A person can carry out a review in five seconds so that this verb needs more detail.
7 (Further – the objective will need to specify something to review although this point does not refer to the verb.)
8 The verb “clarify” presumably means to make clear – but make clear to whom and just which area remains unclear to a person who sets the objective.
9 The same point applies to “check” as applies to “clarify”. However “check” can have a useful meaning if it means measure and compare the measurement with a known standard and report the result of the comparison. However, in this case, someone would have to know (a) what to measure and (b) the standard.
Stop using “to” and “that”
10 Many people write and/or state objectives using the word “to” or “that” before the verb appears. These words do nothing to make the objectives clear. Their deletion will save speaking, writing, listening, talking, and reading time.