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I came across a sentence that began with "It was used a .." and was wondering whether it is grammatically correct.

Specifically, the sentence was: In this case study it was used a part of the database iris available in the R package datasets. (as in 'a part of database was used')

I found some (very few) similar examples on the internet, but am not convinced, they all seem to be missing 'used as a'. The sentence I'm asking about looks wrong to me.

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    Toyp. Must be used as, with the final S untyped. – John Lawler May 3 '15 at 17:42
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    I would just note that the construction "It was used an X to achieve Y" would be perfectly valid in my second language, Norwegian. So just possibly this is the origin of the sentence Blurry queried, rather than a missing "as". – David Pugh May 3 '15 at 18:53
  • Certainly one could write "It was used a little bit" and have a perfectly valid sentence. But in the above it's most likely the case that "a" should be "as" (or perhaps "as a"). Typos happen. – Hot Licks May 3 '15 at 20:58
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    I'll add that in my own editing I've noticed that it's quite easy to muck up "as a" and similar clauses as one reworks a sentence, attempting to refine the meaning. I've ended up with "a a" several times. – Hot Licks May 3 '15 at 21:00
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The full sentence you quote is not correct English. It's not clear from your qustion what you want your sentence to mean.

If you are referring to a thing you have mentioned in the preceding sentence (i.e. "it") which you used as "part of the database iris available in the R package datasets" then you write:

In this case study it was used as part of the database iris available in the R package datasets.

If you are simply wishing to convey that "a part of the database iris available in the R package datasets" was used in this case study, you write:

In this case study a part of the database iris available in the R package datasets was used.

or

In this case study we used a part of the database iris available in the R package datasets.

  • I was asking whether there is a possibility that the sentence is correct with the same meaning as your second and third examples. I'll go ahead and assume this means a 'no'. – blurry May 3 '15 at 19:05

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