When You Use "Exceed" in a Positive Way, Say "Surpass"

This morning, a colleague referred me to the following sentence:

"We’ve earned accolades from our clients as well as industry recognition for creative solutions and marketing strategies that exceed our clients’ expectations."

He argues that exceed isn't the best word here. "Whenever someone uses exceed to mean 'go beyond in a good way,' I urge him to change it to surpass. Exceed often has a pejorative connotation: 'He was cited for exceeding the speed limit,' or 'You've exceeded your month's bandwidth.' But surpass is always positive."

This sounds right, connotatively if not necessarily denotatively.

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