We can use the word exist in two ways. For example,

It existed for 2.6 billion years.

It was in existence for 2.6 billion years.

Can we use other verbs like this? For example,

The earrings were absent.

The earrings were in absence.

  • 1
    in absence is really awkward. Even if it were possible I never would have said it. Sep 14, 2017 at 18:13

1 Answer 1


Grammatically it is OK, but "in absence" would be an odd usage in your example. in absence implies some volition, which doesn't apply to objects.

Normally people are in absence, though the more common term is *in absentia", especially in legal contexts.

If something is done to you in absentia, it is done to you when you are not present.
He was tried in absentia and sentenced to seven years in prison.
He was condemned in absentia.

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