I'm not an English native speaker. My lecturer in my university keeps using "outsourced partner" instead of "outsourcing partner", while I saw everyone in internet is more often using "outsourcing partner".

I can differentiate the difference between "outsourced" and "outsourcing" (Do correct me if I'm wrong):

A. The product is outsourced. (The product has been outsourced to the third party, adjective and passive form). B. The company is outsourcing the product. (The company outsources the product in present continuous form).

However, I'm confused on the usage of "outsourced partner" and "outsourcing partner". May I know if there's any difference between them? Or do both have the same meaning?

Examples: Result of searching "outsourcing partner", and my lecture note.

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  • 2
    Please provide examples of sentences containing "outsourced partner" and "outsourcing partner".
    – Lawrence
    Dec 21, 2017 at 11:23
  • 2
    @Lawrence Thanks for your help. I've just added examples.
    – user272731
    Dec 21, 2017 at 11:54
  • You're welcome. From those examples, it looks like outsourcing is used as a gerund to qualify partner (like baking tray), while outsourced is used as an adjective to describe the partner (like baked treats).
    – Lawrence
    Dec 21, 2017 at 13:11
  • On closer inspection, outsourcing partner is used in that example to refer to themselves as the ones who do the work. This is less like baking tray and more like a bottle of rubbing alcohol. The -ing word acts like an adjective. So both forms (-ing, -ed) function similarly in their respective contexts.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 21, 2017 at 13:23

3 Answers 3


Outsourcing Partner is someone who is doing the outsourcing. Present tense.

Outsourced Partner is someone who was outsourced. Past tense.


The term outsourced partner could indicate that it/they were once part of the organisation, as in a team from a university research group that leave in order to commercialise the results of some successful research.

  • From the details you posted it seems you’re quite right, and for the reasons you gave. outsourcing partner is rather unusual, but quite correct. outsourced partner sounds like an impossibility; at best, a contradiction in terms. How could that be different from an outsourced husband/wife/spouse? For broadly the same reason, past tense doesn’t change the relationship; nor does the group leaving the university. Dec 22, 2017 at 12:47

The difference is past and present tense.

Outsourced Partner is past tense, could be used in present tense.

Outsourcing Partner is present tense and wouldn't be used in past tense.


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