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Sometimes we see the adjective "missing" used before nouns and sometimes after nouns. What is the difference in usage in this regard? For example:

  • There is a missing page in the book.
  • There is a page missing in this book.

What is the difference between these sentences?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The grammatical difference is that, in the first, missing is an adjective, but, in the second, it is a non-finite verb. There is little if any semantic difference, but it is possible that in some contexts a writer might decide that one is more appropriate than the other.

Those of a logical turn of mind might insist that a page that is missing cannot actually be IN a book, and that the only way of expressing the idea is to write ‘There is a page missing FROM this book.’

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Might not the first example imply that a page, missing from some other book, is caught in this book? –  TimLymington Oct 13 '12 at 11:31
1  
It might, but I can't say I've ever found one. –  Barrie England Oct 13 '12 at 11:51

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