1. It is in the envelope provided.
  2. It is in the provided envelope.

I want to know the difference in meaning when I say 'the envelope provided' and 'the provided envelope'. please tell me the difference. If there is no difference in meaning, why do they use these two different expressions?


2 Answers 2


There is no difference in meaning between the two sentences.

In the first sentence, the participle provided is postnominal: it is after the noun it modifies. In the second sentence, it is prenominal: before the noun it modifies, where adjectives usually are placed in English.

Participles are more likely to appear as postnominals than adjectives, which almost never do. Participles are found as postnominals in English expressions such as "a house divided", or "sight unseen", but this is archaic and usually used for effect or emphasis.

In business correspondence, the envelope provided, like please see attached the [sth], is something of a "set phrase".

Wikipedia provides a useful article on postpositive adjectives.

In addition, there is a useful Community Wiki answer on the subject of postpositive participles here.


There's no difference in meaning between these sentences, but the former is more idiomatic and common, according to Google Ngram.

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  • 1
    Please provide evidence :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 11, 2016 at 7:07
  • I see you posted an Ngram link in the comments, why not in the actual answer?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 11, 2016 at 7:10
  • @Mari-LouA, I should have included that in my answer.
    – Khan
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:02
  • So, why not edit your answer, and it's +1 from me.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:02
  • @Mari-LouA, I don't know how to incorporate the link in my answer. Would you edit my answer accordingly.
    – Khan
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:35

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