As a Windows user, I see a message box with the message: "Format complete!" when I have finished to format a drive.

According to the dictionary, complete is a verb or a adjective.

If it is a verb, the message should be phrased as "Format is completed!" or "Format completes!"

If it is a adjective, the message should be phrased as "Format is complete!"

Why is the message "Format complete!"?

2 Answers 2


The message is simply a shortened way of expressing that The disk formatting is complete or The formatting process has completed.

It isn't a sentence, it's a status indication; think of it as reading a meter or indicator. A human would not report to another human Fuel empty, but surely you don't expect your car's fuel gauge to display Your fuel tank is now only half full, either.

One of the criticisms Windows has attracted across the years is inconsistency in its interface; in some places, it attempts to be "user-friendly" with conversational text and guides, and in other places it keeps to terse technical language. This very moment as I am writing this, I have seen it: the wordily observed You just plugged a device into the audio jack, followed immediately by the perfunctory Device muted. I can't fault you for wondering why they don't stick to one or the other.

  • Oh come on, nobody is going to chime in to say "No, my fuel gauge should display Your fuel tank is now half empty, we're English thankyouverymuch"?
    – choster
    Mar 6, 2014 at 19:07

It is a sentence, but not in standard english grammar; it's a slightly different grammar of shortened prose which has been used for newspaper headlines for a long time, and other contexts with limited space. It's equivalent to a standard english sentence:

The format is complete!

But with two changes:

  • 3: Omit articles the, a, an
  • 8: Omit “be” in its various forms

Leaving the shortened form:

Format complete!

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