Let's assume that an employee wrote the following sentence in the weekly report:

Developed an application [doing something useful]

Does this sentence mean that an application is ready? Or does it mean that an employee spend some time on developing that application?

So the question is about weather the action complete or incomplete? How do you write when you want to inform others that something is completed and how do you write when you want to say that you were doing something, but hasn't finished it yet?

And is there a difference for formal report and everyday conversation?

  • That's not a sentence, but a noun phrase. Sep 9, 2019 at 11:44
  • It probably does mean the application is ready. The real question is, What is meant by ready? Ready to deliver to customers? Ready to move to regression testing? Ready for unit tests? Ready for Beta? Software development is a process. Ready just means ready for progression through the process. Developed means whatever the development teams says it means.
    – EllieK
    Feb 15, 2022 at 17:01

2 Answers 2


"developed an application"

With the above, the speaker is conveying that they're no longer developing the application. Their actions of developing the application being referred to are complete. The speaker my be conveying that the application itself is complete, or maybe not. All we can absolutely discern is that his or her action of developing that application is now over and in the past.

"developing an application"

The above is what you would say if you wished to convey that the action is continuous. If you were to put "Developing an application..." on a résumé or in some written report in which you were using a shorthand that deviates from how people normally speak and write by omitting subjects and helping verbs for the sake of brevity, it would be presumed that the action is ongoing.

  • I upvoted your answer, but please correct "The speaker my be conveying..." Sep 9, 2019 at 11:50
  • 2
    I don't agree. If this is on their weekly report, which I assume you'd need to list all the things you did that week. You may have developed the application on Monday, but that doesn't mean you can't still need to develop it more. I think the phrase is ambiguous.
    – Gamora
    Sep 9, 2019 at 12:41
  • Thank you! What is usually supposed to be put in a report to convey these two different meanings (complete or incomplete)?
    – embedc
    Sep 12, 2019 at 11:48
  • Your semantic quibbling is nonsense.
    – user139818
    Jul 19, 2021 at 10:02
  • It's likely to be influenced by the usual style within the company, and particularly the other items on the timesheet. You can record work in many different ways. If everything else is listed as "testing, designing, etc" then you can guess that developed means complete; if everything is in the past tense "tested, designed, etc" then you can't assume anything.
    – Stuart F
    Feb 15, 2022 at 14:48

Both interpretations are correct. Among several definitions of develop, we have

  • To advance; to further; to promote the growth of.
  • To create.

In a software development context, it could either refer to the initial phases of building a working application from a set of requirements, or to the process of applying enhancements and bug fixes to an existing product.

  • that's an easy way to avoid the question, which I understand to be asking about the different use of tenses in the specific context of work reports (a topic also not clear to all native speakers). "Monday: excavate troy; excavating troy", or "excavated troy" or what?
    – vectory
    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:29
  • 1
    I think we can assume the meaning of develop is the typical meaning in software engineering (to perform the work of a software developer, i.e. to design, implement, test and possibly deploy, depending on how a company divides tasks between different workers).
    – Stuart F
    Feb 15, 2022 at 14:45

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