My started picture

Does it sound correct if I'm talking about a picture that I started drawing but haven't finished yet?

Can the word "started" be used as an adjective?

  • 2
    It's not something a native speaker would write or say. We might write or say my unfinished picture, or any one of a number of other sentences expressing the same meaning. Nov 17, 2021 at 9:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, the participle started can be used attributively but it is rare and requires the assistance of an adverb

  • My recently started landscape painting…

  • From this perspective, a recently started experiment by Black Mountain College in North California is intriguing

  • The newly started firm…

  • Of the number of participants who participated in the programme, an average of 75% started firms during the course of the programme, 3 years later, 75% of these newly started companies have survived.

  • A freshly started project

  • They carried her up the stairs in an old farmhouse, which smelled of a freshly started fire and baked bread

However, to express the idea of a drawing that was started but was not finished, I would suggest something along the lines of:

  • I've just started (drawing) a picture
  • I started this picture a week ago.
  • The picture I started is still unfinished / incomplete.
  • I don't think using started is incorrect (with or without an adverb), it's just that it's more usual to express it in other ways (as you say). It would be fine to say "My preferred picture..." or "My folded picture..." or "My chosen picture...", and I don't see why "My started picture" would be any different.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 17, 2021 at 15:11
  • I agree. It may not be 'ungrammatical' to use 'a started painting', but I'd say it's unusual to distinctly weird sounding. And I'm with Orwell: 'Avoid the grotesque. Even more than the ungrammatical.' Use of the bare adjective is probably becoming more common, but this is a good answer. I hope the question is not closed because OP added no research. Nov 17, 2021 at 17:23

"started" can be used as an adjective, sure. Google "a started" (with the quotes) and you'll find many examples. For example, my search returned:

  • "A started service is one that another component starts ..."
  • "Complete a Started Application."
  • "This is why some hunters find the idea of acquiring a started dog more ..."
  • "Unable to add records to a started dynamic campaign."

"My started" is comparatively rare, but not ungrammatical.

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