I think that this is a problem of the usage of adjectives and adverbs (that's why I chose this title):

I have a sentence in my presentation, which clarifies that a procedure uses only observations which are known, so I write:

Uses only known observations.

or do I have to write:

Only known observations are used.

or is the long version necessary:

Uses only observations(,) which are known.

(I'm not sure about the comma)

  • Your first and third options are actually not sentences at all. Can you provide a little more context? – JLG Aug 6 '13 at 16:24
  • Ok, assume there is an "It" before. So It uses.... – CLarifinyo Aug 6 '13 at 16:33
  • 2
    A presentation may have large quantities of non-sentences, e.g. bullet points. The first option is an acceptable bullet point. To be a sentence, it needs a subject ("it"). The second option is acceptable everywhere, and the third one has no place in a presentation (too long-winded). – n. 'pronouns' m. Aug 6 '13 at 19:58

Assuming that you are including this brief phrase (not a full sentence), then either of your first two options would be acceptable.

But on a separate point, if your presentation is describing a procedure that has already been carried out, i.e. if you are describing what was down in the past, then you may wish to use the past tense, instead of the present tense. In that case it would be:

Used only known observations.
Only known observations were used.


Only known observations are used.

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