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The most common meaning of the verb inform is give information to or tell:

  • Janet informed us of the change in plans.

However, in formal use, the verb inform can also mean guide or shape, influence or contribute to:

  • The survey will inform (guide, shape) the planning of future events.
  • Many research projects completed in 2009 informed (influenced) important decision making.

If these more formal uses of the verb inform are likely to be unfamiliar to your readers, consider choosing another verb:

  • contribute to
  • determine
  • direct
  • govern
  • guide
  • influence
  • shape