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In the following sentence below, I want to use the word reported as a noun, but it looks like I’m using the present perfect form has reported.

How can one be clear when constructions like this arise?

That both covers the whole 3-week period and has reported duty-cycles under it.

(Note: That sentence was written in the context of technical writing, so don't pay too much attention to its actual meaning.)

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This question puzzled me, because 'reported' is never a noun: you are using it as an adjective. –  Colin Fine Jul 25 '12 at 21:30
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2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The Perfect construction is far more common than the construction you want to use, so you're headed up the garden path for sure without changes.

To inhibit interpretation as Perfect, just include something that can't appear between auxiliary have and a Perfect participle, but can appear between a main verb have in the 'possess' sense and its direct object.

Like an article or quantifier to mark the beginning of a Noun Phrase:

  • .. and has the reported duty cycles on it.
  • .. and has all/some (of the) reported duty cycles on it.

Alternatively, use contain or report instead of have .. on it:

  • .. and contains the reported duty cycles.
  • .. and reports the duty-cycles.
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Your question is: How can one be clear when constructions such as this arise?

Well, you could write this:

That covers the whole three-week period, and there are reported duty-cycles under it.

In general, though, you’ll from time to time find ambiguous constructions like this. If you think what you’re writing is ambiguous, simply rewrite it. The nice thing about human language is that there’s always more than one way of skinning any given cat.

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