first: what is the right way to formulate a question when using a verb-to-be from the below examples?

What object is provided?

what is the object provided?

what is the provided object?

Second: is it right to use the simple present with WHO in question?

Who decides whether to promote an employee?

2 Answers 2


What object is provided? what is the object provided? what is the provided object?

For a beginning or intermediate student of English, I would say all these sentences mean the same thing. For an advanced learner, I would say that they tend to reflect different expectations about what information is shared between the speaker and the listener.

For example, if someone has said, "We put a new welcome gift in the locker of every new student." The best response of the three would be "What is the object provided?," since this is the most independent statement and not connected to any previous words stated.

If the statement were: "We provide a new welcome gift in the locker....," it would be more appropriate to say: "What is the object provided?" in order to echo as closely as possible the word choice and word structure of the previous statement.

As for the difference between "object provided" and "provided object," the former feels like an ellipsis of tail material that is easily imagined in the situation. For instance, it could be a short way of saying "object provided by the school to every student in order to make them feel welcome." It refers to the specific situation under discussion.

Saying "provided object" does not readily bring up any other situational considerations and even suggests that a "provided object" is a socially relevant category of things independent of the situation.

In the last month, I have been provided with many things and have desired many things, but there is nothing I would have thought of as a "provided object" or a "desired thing." But I could easily tell you about objects provided to me or desired by me. In contrast, I have encountered many online forms and certainly wondered about "desired responses" or "desired output." These feel like generic references unconnected to particular people and particular occasions. In this case, talking about the "response desired" or the "output desired" would limit the reference to the specifics of what was being discussed and would no longer refer to generic situations with similar characteristics. You might even wonder what particular person's desire was being referred to.

As for the original question, I would only say: "What is the provided object?" to echo someone else that had used the same phrasing of "provided object." Such phrasing might be appropriate to describe some long standing practice of providing a particular object in a particular situation, rather than a practice in which the object or other specifics could vary from time to time.

  • thank you for your elaboration. To echo you, saying "what is in the attached file" might fit well your last explanation on using "provided file" to describe some long-standing practices of referring to common thing like "attached file".
    – DrDentMBR
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 12:56

As far as I can see, as a native BE speaker, all 4 of your sentences are grammatically correct and understandable.

Of the first 3 I prefer What is the object provided? to be marginally better than What object is provided? whilst What is the provided object? is OK, but an uncommon construction.

English often has a certain flexibility in word order without significantly changing the meaning. So the object provided has exactly the same meaning as the provided object

The 4th sentence is perfectly good English. What other version did you have in mind not using the simple present?

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