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When a user finishes an order on my website, what's the correct way?

  • Your order is now complete.
  • Your order is now completed.
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I prefer "Your order is complete"; the "now" doesn't add anything. The second sentence uses a present-tense verb with a past-tense adjective.

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past-tense adjective?? you mean verb... –  Epaga Oct 26 '10 at 6:14
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Let's settle for past participle. –  RegDwigнt Oct 26 '10 at 9:31
    
"past-tense adjective??" I don't think so; "completed" modifies the noun "order". –  jcarmody Oct 26 '10 at 9:34
    
I would argue that the 'now' in 'now complete' adds information that it was until just recently not complete. –  Kaz Dragon Feb 9 '11 at 16:11
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The second sentence is absolutely right. It is the Passive Voice. In the first sentence it is the Active Voice. I think it's correct, too. But I like the other version more..

The finished product will be ready and available after two weeks have passed. It will be completed in two weeks. The finished product will be ready and available after two weeks have passed.

OR

The product will be worked on during a period of two weeks, making it finished, ready, and available at the end of the two-week period.

In the first case, you are allowing for the possibility that work on the product may not start until 10, 11, maybe 12 days after you utter the statement.

In the second case, you may be saying the same thing as in the first case, OR, you may be saying that work on the product will be carried on during the entire two-week period.

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Sentence #2 is not passive voice. It is completed as an adjective. This is clear because it is supposed to be a discrete event that just happened. The phrase "is completed" as a passive would express a habitual action, e.g. "is completed once per day". If you wanted to use the passive to express the situation described in the question, you would use "has been completed". Therefore, in order to convey the proper meaning, "is completed" here is used with the stative verb is plus the adjective completed. –  Kosmonaut Oct 26 '10 at 2:05
    
@Kosmonaut: I had been wondering why “Your order is completed” is grammatical. Thanks! –  Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 26 '10 at 13:03
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Completed in the phrase is completed is used as an adjective, in the same way of warmed in one is warmed by a stove for visitors.

Searching for is completed and is complete in the Corpus of Contemporary American, I get the following data (the chart reports the frequency per million of those phrases).

"is complete" vs. "is completed"

Looking for is now completed, and is now complete, I get the following data:

enter image description here

To make a comparison, this is the data I get when searching for was completed, and was complete:

enter image description here

Looking at these charts, I can say that:

  • The phrases is now completed and is now complete are less common than the equivalent phrases without now.
  • The "rule" "use complete with is, use completed with was" seems to not be generally applicable. In academic and spoken context, both is completed and is complete have the same frequency; in magazine context, that is not true, and is complete, was completed are used more times than is completed and was complete.
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If you are wondering why all in a sudden you see two mouse cursors, that is because one cursor is in the screenshots I took. It wanted to appear, and I thought it could have been fine as ruler. –  kiamlaluno Feb 9 '11 at 18:21
    
You're insane... –  Matt Montag Apr 10 '11 at 20:06
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