When I watch movies, I usually hear one person say to another a short phrase with the structure "noun + past participle" in the conversation. Here's two examples:

"Request denied."

"Permission approved."

I can understand that they mean "I deny your request" and "I approve your permission." I often see such a sentence structure in news headlines such as: "Woman killed in the conflict" or "Child found in an empty house", but seldom see such usage in spoken English. If this usage is correct, can I say "two pairs of shoes wanted" to a salesman when I visit a shop?

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    It's easy to confuse Headlinese with normal English. I believe that you got those phrases from headlines. (I wrote about it once here. You can search for "headlinese" to check out other ELL posts.) In reality, this matter is a little bit more complicated because English also has postmodifiers (e.g. "If you have the book mentioned above, you can find the quote on page 42.") Dec 5, 2014 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


if it can be used like that, can i say ' two pairs of shoes wanted' to the salesman when i visit the shop??

If one uses such an expression in speech (e.g. "complaint noted", "point taken") the brevity of the locution can connote either a sort of (bureaucratic?) distancing of the speaker from the issue at hand, the opposite of empathy, or perhaps a willingness on the part of the speaker to treat the issue seriously. But it marks a departure from the normal conversational register.

You would not say to a shop clerk, "two pairs of shoes wanted". But you might put that on a public bulletin board: "Ride wanted". There it's close to headlinese. Deliberate brevity because of limited space.

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