English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is the phrase "item is ignored for deletion" grammatical and idiomatic?

The context is a software program. I have a list of items to be deleted from a database, and if an item from the list is not in the database, I want to display a message saying that the item is ignored. Since this message can appear among other unrelated messages, I want it to be as informative as possible but laconic.

share|improve this question

closed as not constructive by Carlo_R., Rory Alsop, StoneyB, JSBձոգչ, Robusto Nov 29 '12 at 20:16

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

It isn't ignored though. You've processed that item and found it's already missing from the database. That could mean it doesn't need to be reported at all, since that's the desired result; or you could say "Item not present" or "Item already not present" to show that you couldn't delete it. – Andrew Leach Nov 29 '12 at 18:52
up vote 1 down vote accepted

The phrasing does seems awkward. It would not be clear to the user why it was ignored, and a likely conclusion for the user is that they cannot delete it for an unspecified reason which they must remedy. This may prompt them to spend time seeking recourse where none is to be found (presumably).

What do you think of an explicit explanation, Item X not found, nothing to remove. SKIPPED (not found) has been suggested for a more succinct approach (you should have consistent tone for your messages).

Alternately, is silently skipping the item an option? This seems the ideal approach if the fact that the item was skipped is not important or actionable. You could safely omit the detail entirely if there isn't any further action the user needs to take.

share|improve this answer
thanks that helped. – akonsu Nov 29 '12 at 19:18
"SKIPPED (not found)" might be a succinct way of stating it. – horatio Nov 29 '12 at 20:14
@horatio Your comment is the best answer so far. You should p- oh, wait. – Mr Lister Nov 29 '12 at 20:37
+1, too bad about the close vote. There's a middle way-- I can edit his suggestion into my answer :D – Chris Nov 29 '12 at 22:13

I think it rather depends on how the situation arose. If the user entered a list of items to delete, and you find some of them missing, a message like "Unknown item not deleted", or just simply "unknown item". If the item was already deleted by a different process, something like "Already deleted" or "Obsolete" would be appropriate. If you are just assuring the data is gone then you might not need to indicate it differently at all -- if it is gone, it is gone regardless of how or when.

share|improve this answer
thank you. I am not a native speaker and I do not know whether the phrase sounds correct. Yes, I can choose different wording, I was just asking if it is a proper English. – akonsu Nov 29 '12 at 19:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.