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Consider the two sentences:

The number of the analyzed data sheets exceeds 1000.

The number of the data sheets analyzed exceeds 1000.

Which position of the past participle "analyzed" is correct? Why? If both are right, is there a difference in the meaning? (An aside: one can rewrite the sentence to "More than 1000 data sheets have been analyzed" or similar, but that's not the point here.)

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  • Both are correct but have different nuances: The first uses analysed as an adjective to describe a property of the data sheets. The second "analysed" forms a passive reduced relative clause modifying "data sheets" and indicates and emphasises that the analysis has been done by someone. In full, it would read: "The number of the data sheets that have been analyzed exceeds 1000."
    – Greybeard
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 12:00
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  • See also Order of participial adjective {a bad representative of the taken radiograms is used / a bad representative of the radiograms taken is used.}. Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 14:47
  • Also When can the ing-form of a verb be placed before a noun?. // Here, 'The number of the data sheets analyzed exceeds 1000' is an almost exact equivalent of (some would say a [whiz-deleted] deleted form of) 'The number of the data sheets which have [with a fairly strong implication of 'so far'] been analyzed exceeds 1000', giving a sitrep of the analytycal process. / I'd expect .... Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 15:53
  • 'The number of the analyzed data sheets exceeds 1000' to be used as a non-sitrep report, just stating a fact: 'analyzed data sheets to hand at this moment: 1000+'. Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 15:53

1 Answer 1

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Both positions are correct. The difference is subtle—a matter of focus. Either way, some data sheets were analyzed by someone or something and can now be characterized as analyzed.

To simplify, let's make data sheets into the head noun and add some context . . .

Focus on the action of analyzing:

Researchers analyzed some data sheets.

The data sheets that researchers analyzed exceed 1000. (relative clause—active)

The data sheets that were analyzed [by researchers] exceed 1000. (relative clause—passive)

The data sheets analyzed exceed 1000. (reduced relative clause—passive)

Focus on the result of analyzing:

Researchers analyzed some data sheets.

Now those data sheets are analyzed data sheets.

The analyzed data sheets exceed 1000.