Furthermore, the need for secrecy was tempered not only by the need for use unsupervised overseas but by the desire to use maps and charts to legitimate territorial claims, a function they could not logically provide without being public. (source)

I am not sure I am parsing that part of the sentence correctly. Is "use" a noun? It seems "the need for" calls for a noun, but then what is the role of "unsupervised overseas"? Since "unsupervised" is an adjective, "overseas" either an adjective or an adverb, isn't the structure noun + adj + adv/adj? I am hesitant to say this is a case of postpositive modification. What is it?

Shouldn't that part be "need for unsupervised use overseas"? Is "need for use unsupervised overseas" not a mistake?

1 Answer 1


Yes, use seems to be a noun there, modified by the clause unsupervised overseas. So it could be rewritten:

... need for unsupervised use overseas

or even

... need for unsupervised overseas use

unsupervised is an adjectival modifier formed from the negated past participle of the verb supervise.

  • I think I also meant to ask "shouldn't that part be 'need for unsupervised use overseas'?" And "is 'need for use unsupervised overseas' not a mistake?"
    – Eddie Kal
    Nov 27, 2018 at 18:55
  • It is not a mistake. It seems a stylistic decision to emphasize the fact that the use would be unsupervised overseas. If you cannot supervise the use from a distance, you cannot control the secret.
    – TimR
    Nov 27, 2018 at 19:04

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