Instantly enhance your writing in real-time while you type.
With LanguageTool

What Does “Concerted Effort” Mean?

powered by LanguageTool

Have you ever wondered what the phrase “concerted effort” means or if it can apply to solo endeavors? Below, we’ll unravel the definition of this expression and explore its correct usage.

White text over green background reads "What Does Concerted Effort Mean"?
Do you know what this phrase means and how to use it correctly?
Concerted Effort: Quick Summary

Concerted effort means “doing something in collaboration with others.” However, its use to describe a “determined, organized, and vigorous attempt” by an individual is increasingly common, though sometimes contested.

We’re going to be as straightforward as possible and state that:

  • Concerted effort originally referred to a collaborative effort.
  • But concerted effort is also commonly used when referring to an individual to mean “an organized and determined attempt.”

But is one right and the other wrong? That’s what this blog post aims to uncover. We promise we will make a concerted effort to be as clear and informative as possible. 

Let’s get started! 

Illustration shows a split graphic, with one side showing a solo person, and the other a group of people, and text in the middle that reads "Concerted effort."
We’ll teach you if “concerted effort” must be applied to a group of people or whether it can be used with an individual, too.

Understanding the Meaning of “Concerted Effort” 

To understand what the phrase concerted effort means, we must first review the word concerted. The Oxford Dictionary provides two definitions for this adjective. We’ll start with the primary one, which is “jointly arranged, planned, or carried out.” In this sense, concerted refers to doing something together with at least one other person. As an adjective, concerted can modify any noun; it’s not strictly reserved for “effort.” 

They launched a concerted attack against their rival but lost either way. 
The founders met to discuss a concerted approach to introducing their products. 
We planned to execute a concerted strategy that involved the cooperation of several departments. 
The managers floated around the idea of possibly doing a concerted campaign

In the examples above, the word concerted helps indicate that a group effort was involved to achieve a particular goal. It may help to remember that the word concerted is derived from the word concert, which can refer to a “group of musicians performing together,” but also identifies other types of cooperative behavior.

Let’s move on to the second definition from the Oxford Dictionary, which is “strenuously carried out; done with great effort.” If you’re a strict grammarian, you might find this meaning rather peculiar. That’s because it is often stated that attributing a concerted effort to a single person is an incorrect use of the phrase. But is it?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, applying concerted effort to individuals who did something in a strategic, determined, and strenuous manner is grammatically correct.

He made a concerted effort to find a job that nourished his skills. 
After failing the exam three times, Alexandra made a concerted effort to pass by any means necessary. 
The novelist made a concerted effort in researching, writing, and publishing a book.

Again, grammarians may be seething at reading this. But keep in mind that we’re simply stating the definitions provided by one of the most respected historical dictionaries available.

“Concerted Effort” Synonyms 

If you want to avoid the risk of misusing this phrase, you can always opt for a synonym instead.

The following expressions can replace concerted effort when referring to a “group effort.”

Collaborative endeavor

The neighbors launched a collaborative endeavor to create a community garden.

Cooperative effort

Cleaning up the city after the hurricane required a cooperative effort from several state departments.

Joint effort 

The companies announced a joint effort to develop more a more eco-friendly delivery system.

Team effort

Winning the championship was no easy feat; it required a team effort.

The options below can be used as synonyms for concerted effort when attributing it to an individual.

Diligent attempt

She made a diligent attempt to master the violin.

Determined effort

He made a determined effort to win first place in the art fair.

Rigorous pursuit

His rigorous pursuit of excellence earned him numerous prestigious awards in his field.

Strategic approach

The company developed a strategic approach to remaining at the top of the industry.

Using “Concerted Effort” Correctly 

When it comes to concerted effort, you should be aware that many people believe that using this phrase when referring to one person is blatantly incorrect. On the other hand, you may also occasionally find reputable publications that employ concerted effort to refer to a single person’s actions.

So, what are you supposed to do?

The truth is that it’s up to you! Now you know that the Oxford Dictionary includes both meanings; therefore, you can decide how to use the phrase.

Clearly, English can be confusing. Don’t let commonly confused phrases—like exasperate and exacerbate, and many others—stop you in your tracks! LanguageTool is a personal writing assistant that can ensure correct usage of vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation. Additionally, it can help sharpen your writing skills by tracking your productivity.

You and LanguageTool can make a concerted effort to write powerful prose, so you can become the writer you want to be. Try it today!

Unleash the Professional Writer in You With LanguageTool

Go well beyond grammar and spell checking. Impress with clear, precise, and stylistically flawless writing instead.

Get started for free
We Value Your Feedback

We’ve made a mistake, forgotten about an important detail, or haven’t managed to get the point across? Let’s help each other to perfect our writing.