I don't quite understand how one should use the expression "exported from somewhere". What does it mean when an item is exported from a given place?

So far I've always seen the verb export used like this:

The UK exports veal to many European countries.

I've also seen the verb import being used like this:

The UK imports asparagus from Bolivia.

But I don't understand what exported from means. For example:

Wheat is exported from the UK.

  • 2
    Would you rather have us say "wheat is exported by the U.K."? Mar 8, 2012 at 12:11
  • 1
    @Peter Shor: I think "is exported by" is just as valid, but "is exported from" is three times more common Mar 8, 2012 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


Many verbs have complements that express a two-way flow, such as import and export, give and receive, or send and receive.

Ron gave Paul a new television.
Paul received a new television from Ron.
The new television was given by Ron.
The new television was a gift from Ron.

The ship sent a distress signal to shore.
The Coast Guard station received a distress signal from the ship.
The distress signal was sent by the ship.

These seem analogous to the three examples you wrote. I agree that

The UK exports wheat.

is superior to

Wheat is exported from the UK.

but I still believe the latter is acceptable.

  • 1
    However the latter form makes much more sense than the former with multiple countries, eg. Wheat is exported from Canada, Ukraine and the UK, but imported by France and Turkey (countries selected at random).
    – Useless
    Mar 8, 2012 at 14:52

‘Wheat is exported from the UK’ means that British wheat producers sell their crop to other countries. It is not necessary to specify which countries.

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