Is the phrase "item is ignored for deletion" grammatical and idiomatic?

The context is a software program. I have a list of items to be deleted from a database, and if an item from the list is not in the database, I want to display a message saying that the item is ignored. Since this message can appear among other unrelated messages, I want it to be as informative as possible but laconic.

  • It isn't ignored though. You've processed that item and found it's already missing from the database. That could mean it doesn't need to be reported at all, since that's the desired result; or you could say "Item not present" or "Item already not present" to show that you couldn't delete it.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 18:52

2 Answers 2


The phrasing does seems awkward. It would not be clear to the user why it was ignored, and a likely conclusion for the user is that they cannot delete it for an unspecified reason which they must remedy. This may prompt them to spend time seeking recourse where none is to be found (presumably).

What do you think of an explicit explanation, Item X not found, nothing to remove. SKIPPED (not found) has been suggested for a more succinct approach (you should have consistent tone for your messages).

Alternately, is silently skipping the item an option? This seems the ideal approach if the fact that the item was skipped is not important or actionable. You could safely omit the detail entirely if there isn't any further action the user needs to take.

  • 1
    "SKIPPED (not found)" might be a succinct way of stating it.
    – horatio
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 20:14
  • 1
    @horatio Your comment is the best answer so far. You should p- oh, wait.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 20:37
  • +1, too bad about the close vote. There's a middle way-- I can edit his suggestion into my answer :D
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 22:13

I think it rather depends on how the situation arose. If the user entered a list of items to delete, and you find some of them missing, a message like "Unknown item not deleted", or just simply "unknown item". If the item was already deleted by a different process, something like "Already deleted" or "Obsolete" would be appropriate. If you are just assuring the data is gone then you might not need to indicate it differently at all -- if it is gone, it is gone regardless of how or when.

  • thank you. I am not a native speaker and I do not know whether the phrase sounds correct. Yes, I can choose different wording, I was just asking if it is a proper English.
    – akonsu
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 19:56

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