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Is the following okay? I was told that "John installed the program on the computer"cannot be rewritten as "John installed the computer with the program."

All iPads are installed with iCore's proprietary software, which it sells to other businesses, allowing users to manage phone calls and video chat requests.

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    Am I right that you're really asking whether "be installed with X" can be used roughly with the function of "have X installed"?
    – gotube
    Jul 12, 2023 at 1:39
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    Yes. I'm wondering if it could have a pattern like "equip A with B."
    – Apollyon
    Jul 12, 2023 at 1:49

2 Answers 2

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Yes, that sentence is correct.

"Installed" can only be used like this with passive structures or as an adjective, so your sentence, "John installed the computer with the program", is incorrect, even though it should be directly equivalent.

My first guess was that "installed" had to be an adjective with "be" as a linking verb, but the sentence, "These computers are currently being installed with our operating system" is correct, and that's unambiguously the passive voice, not an adjective.

That said, "installed" can also be used adjectivally, as in these these examples with "come" in place of a be-verb:

This is in comparison to laptops or desktops, which may come installed with a variety of software that may or may not be helpful (Source)

Both underwater treadmill units can come installed with hydrojets creating additional turbulent fluid flow (Source)

While those sentences make perfect sense, these are incorrect:

*John installed the computers with a variety of software.

*John installed the treadmill units with hydrojets.

I cannot explain why "install" has a function that only applies in the passive voice.

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  • Could it be a controversial usage? Someone says: ""iPads are installed with iCore's software" means the iPads themselves are being installed, and have iCore software at the time of being installed. This is valid grammar, but different than saying the iCore software is installed onto the iPads."
    – Apollyon
    Jul 12, 2023 at 5:37
  • @Apollyon I expect some people would insist the sentence is incorrect, but not because it feels incorrect, but because the passive form cannot be put into active form, and conclude from that fact that your sentence is incorrect. That is a prescriptive conclusion, not a descriptive one. The descriptive answer is simply that that sentence feels correct so it is. It's then up to linguists to figure out why it's correct.
    – gotube
    Jul 12, 2023 at 17:22
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When you say that "these computers are installed with the X software" or "John installed the computer with the X program", the first interpretation coming to mind is that X is an installation program.

However, in the iPads case, you may deduce from the context that "All iPads come with iCore's proprietary software".

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    The question is whether it's correct, not what it means. Is it correct?
    – gotube
    Jul 12, 2023 at 1:38
  • @gotube : You may be right, but I didn't understood the OP question that way.
    – Graffito
    Jul 12, 2023 at 9:10

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