I have come across the following sentence but it doesn't quite sound right.

Absent additional configuration, permits will be distributed at a fixed rate.

Is the first part of the sentence correct?

If not, then what is a good way of phrasing it?

  • Using absent like that seems common in American English, although it does not occur in standard British English. What do you intend it to mean?
    – Andrew Leach
    Apr 17, 2013 at 10:54
  • 2
    Absent here just means in the absence of, without. In other words, if additional configuration does not occur, permits will be distributed at a fixed rate.
    – user13141
    Apr 17, 2013 at 10:59
  • @onomatomaniak Do you mean it really means, or it is the intention of the writer to mean? Is the structure grammatical and popular? I think in the absence of is what is required.
    – Kris
    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:15
  • @Kris What it really and truly means. See the prepositional definition of the word: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absent
    – user13141
    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:26
  • @Kris it really means that. It is synonymous with without. Apr 17, 2013 at 11:28

1 Answer 1


The word absent here functions as a preposition. This is not very common in British English but it appears to be a lot more common in American English.

absent | formal, North American

without: employees could not be fired absent other evidence.

  • I disagree that it is uncommon. It strikes me as a standard, perfectly acceptable usage in American English.
    – user13141
    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:27
  • @A As much as it is Uncommon, is it correct?
    – anthonyms
    Apr 17, 2013 at 11:29
  • @onomatomaniak By not very common I'm suggesting that it is less common in British English. Sorry. I should have clarified that. Apr 17, 2013 at 12:07
  • @artfullyContrived Yes, it is correct. Apr 17, 2013 at 12:08

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