I'd like to inquire about the exact usage of the word "output" in the following two examples:

This data were analyzed using a traditional pipeline. This streamline output a number for each metric of interest.

This data were analyzed using a traditional pipeline. The output of this streamline is one number for each metric of interest.

In the first example "output" was used as a verb and in the second sentence it was used as a noun. Is this usage correct? In the dictionary the word "output" was reported as a verb and as a noun. But the usage as a verb is not common. Am I still able to use it as a verb like in the examples above? In other words, is this usage common between native speakers?

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    Since streamline is singular, I would expect the corresponding verb to be outputs, unless the concept of the streamline in this context actually represents multiple items.
    – choster
    Jun 7, 2018 at 13:54
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    You appear to have answered your own question: Output can be used as both a noun and verb, but the verbal use is not common. // Also "This data was" or "These data were" at the start.
    – James K
    Jun 7, 2018 at 13:54
  • @choster: The verb form in the first example is incredibly awkward to parse, but given the data were analysed, we should assume that output is a syntactically valid (but stylistically hopeless) Past Tense form. Jun 7, 2018 at 14:06
  • @James K: I see no reason to think the verb usage of output is not common. It's just a really, really, really bad choice in OP's exact context. Jun 7, 2018 at 14:09
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    @goro: I'm not familiar with your use of streamline as a noun - but putting that aside, it would be more natural (and easier for readers to parse) if you said, for example, This streamline generates a number for each metric of interest. And personally, I'd much prefer value rather than number there, but this is just a stylistic choice that doesn't make much difference in terms of how easy it is to read and understand. Also, I don't like treating data as a plural noun (again, just a personal thing - many people are quite happy with that). Jun 7, 2018 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


Yes, it is okay to use output as a verb. Just google for "to output the" (using the quotation marks) and you will come across multiple instances of it being used as a verb.

Example from Google Books:

This means that P0 is used to transmit the low eight bits of the address and to output the eight bits of data.

  • It is pretty much possible to use any English lexical word as a verb in the proper context. Also as a noun and an adjective, in other proper contexts. A good dictionary will point out and distinguish noun, verb, and adjective uses of a word. Jun 7, 2018 at 21:54

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