If I understand correctly, some adjectives can be derived from verbs.

For example, an interested person is someone who is interested in me, and an interesting person is someone who is interesting to me.

So how you do it with irregular verbs?

In the phrase "do something with data which was read" could the "data which was read" be replaced with something like "the read or readed data"?

I'm confused by fact that this verb irregular and is spelled the same in 1-3 forms.

  • What about "the data read into the system is . . ."? – compman Apr 29 '11 at 22:04

The difference here comes in pronunciation, you would still use 'read' but speak is such as red or reed depending on the circumstance. For instance:

  • I can reed.
  • I red it.

Though, you could alter the sentence to replace 'read' with a couple of things, as per @Martin's comment 'entered' or 'loaded' could be used:

We do something with the loaded data.

We do something with the entered data.

We do something with the provided data.

Or it could be shortened, but this is depending on context:

We process the input.

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    might be clearer to replace it with "loaded" or "entered" - computer manuals aren't poetry – mgb Apr 29 '11 at 19:30
  • @Martin: You're correct, re-reading the question provoked more thought on the matter. – Grant Thomas Apr 29 '11 at 19:33
  • @Marting Beckett: thanks for very useful suggestion. – bayda Apr 29 '11 at 19:40
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    Yeah, we could "do something with the loaded" — but, dude, like, why harsh their mellow? This aggression will not stand, man. – Robusto Apr 29 '11 at 20:58
  • @Robusto: I was actually puzzled for more than a moment there. ;) – Grant Thomas Apr 29 '11 at 21:10

Nothing obviously, you can't really say "readed data" - perhaps with more of the context we can come up with something better.

English isn't always as clear as languages that can do things with verb endings - that's why technical phrases can sound clumsy.

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    It's just a comment in source code - "do something with data which was read" - I wanted to rewrite its more cleaner and shortly – bayda Apr 29 '11 at 19:38
  • Thats fine - although 'input' or 'input data' could be better – mgb Apr 29 '11 at 20:06
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    Isn't the past of read still read? – kiamlaluno Apr 29 '11 at 20:44
  • You can't say "readed data", but you can certainly say "read data" (pronounced "red", obviously). When a computer program is working its way through some data file, it's often convenient to speak of the read and the unread data. – FumbleFingers Apr 29 '11 at 21:19
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    @Martin: however, that confusion does not exist in the constructions in question, "data which was read". It can only be parsed in exactly one way. There is no ambiguity whatsoever. Likewise, in OP's other example, "the read data", the presence of the article clearly rules out the imperative. – RegDwigнt Apr 30 '11 at 12:46

I think that technically "read data" is correct, but it sounds awkward (and appears even more awkward). To make it sound less awkward (without resorting to a different verb) you can add an adverb or change it into a phrasal verb:

  • the data read in
  • the recently read data
  • frequently read data

I think that those are fine.


I'm confused by fact that this verb irregular and is spelled the same in 1-3 forms.

Exactly. Your readers will be confused too, if you write something like “examine the read data”.

Grammatically, the read data is fine. Practically, it is a confusing mess. Treat it as you would treat code that's technically correct but confusing: rewrite it.

For your amusement: Some other past participles that are exactly identical to the present tense are bet, burst, cut, hit, hurt, let, put, run, set, shut, and split. Some of these can be used before a noun (some burst pipes, the hurt children), but most aren’t normally used that way in practice (the hit batter charged the mound would be strange). Read is not alone, though it is especially bothersome for programmers.

Workarounds: An adjective or past participle with complements of its own can go after a noun: the people hurt in the blast, the amount bet on the first race, batters hit by wild pitches, the data read from the socket, the data read so far.

However, it is probably best to just drop the confusing word read and say the data from the socket or all the input so far or the data in 'x' where x is a variable name.


here's a list of about 370 irregular verbs and from what you're asking here's some adjectives:

broken vase - from the infinitive "break"

burnt toast - from the infinitve "burn"

frostbitten fingers - from the infinitive "frostbite"

lip-read movie - from the infinitive "lip-read"

typewritten manuscript - from the infinitive "typewrite"

an so on and so forth, hope that helps! :)

  • thanks. I was asking because phrase "do something with read data" looks a bit ambiguously. – bayda Apr 29 '11 at 19:44
  • @bayda that's why I included "lip-read", there's also proofread in the list :) I think you have to pronounce read like "red" (the color) – Paul Amerigo Pajo Apr 29 '11 at 19:52
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    Erm... frostbitten is the past participle of a somewhat 'notional' verb to frostbite, not some wildly irregular conjugation of to freeze. Though there are oddities such as wrought iron, which really is from the infinitive to work. – FumbleFingers Apr 29 '11 at 21:24
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    Not even frost is a participle, right? I looked it up to be sure, but it seems so... – Alenanno Apr 29 '11 at 23:30
  • @FumbleFingers thanks for pointing that out - I had several tabs opened haha I'll edit it :) – Paul Amerigo Pajo May 1 '11 at 9:48

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