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I want a verb meaning "be positioned at" for the following sentence. What can I use?

In each list, no positive item can ... before an irrelevant one.

I used take place, but it seems that it's meaning is different in English.

  • Be positioned at is a verb phrase; so is be located at. There isn't a single, inflectable verb with that meaning. – John Lawler Aug 7 '15 at 18:27
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Place is not used intransitively, except in speaking of competitions; but passive be placed will work just dandy; it's essentially the same as be positioned, but a little more everyday.

Lie and appear are common intransitives in contexts like this

No positive item can appear before an irrelevant one.
No positive item can lie before an irrelevant one.

  • Does lie make sense in a mathematical context and in talking about lists and buckets of numbers? Moreover, there are several other answers. Do you think which one is best suited? – Shayan Aug 7 '15 at 17:30
  • Another common intransitive is occur, which in OP's exact context is probably a lot more common than lie (though in some other contexts I'm sure lie, sit actually work better than appear, occur). – FumbleFingers Aug 7 '15 at 17:45
  • What does OP stand for? – Shayan Aug 7 '15 at 18:15
  • @Shayan “Original Post[er]”, that is, you. Another very simple option for your particular case: come. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 7 '15 at 20:36
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Or go. – StoneyB Aug 7 '15 at 20:38
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In the particular context given in the question, that is:

In each list, no positive item can ... before an irrelevant one.

I believe the word "occur" can fill in that blank. This verb (like "appear", which I noticed StoneyB suggests) uses the active voice; most other alternatives in common use will use the passive voice, as suggested by the other answers so far.

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Be placed:

Place:

  • To put in or as if in a particular place or position; set.

..no positive item can be placed before an irrelevant one.

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Situated

In each list, no positive item can be situated before an irrelevant one.

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If you're dealing with a descending value of things, I'd suggest ordered.

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