"involved expense" vs "expense involved"

If it were not for the expense involved, I would go there by air.

Could I use involved expense?

"objecting person" vs "person objecting"

Any person objecting has a chance to give his views at the meeting.

Could I use objecting person?

"used materials" vs "materials used"

The materials used have all been tested to make sure that they are safe.

Could I use used materials?

"received information" vs "information received"

Acting on information received. the police raided the club.

Could I use received information?

"adopted methods" vs "methods adopted"

One of the methods adopted is to organize visits to other factories.

Could I use adopted methods?

"approaching footsteps" vs "footsteps approaching"

The sound of approaching footsteps could be heard down the corridor.

Could I use footsteps approaching?

  • There's some useful information in this answer to a related question on ELU. As a rule of thumb, you should put these "verb-derived adjectives" after the noun. Except where you want to stress "verb-ed" as opposed to "not verb-ed". For example, if used = new / not unused, as in "He sells used cars". If the modifier is still essentially a verb ("He only sells cars used by careful drivers"), it goes after the noun. Aug 31, 2013 at 17:51

1 Answer 1


All except "used materials" are equivalent in meaning, although they differ in emphasis. When you put the participle first (e.g. "received information") it sounds as though you wanted to emphasize that it wasn't old information or something. When you say "information received" then the emphasis is on the information, not how it was obtained.

"Used materials" means "not new; second-hand." That one really is very different from "materials used."

Hope that helps.

  • Good point that used materials would normally mean materials which are no longer new, whereas materials used is essentially a "verb" form (The art teacher cleared away the materials used [by the pupils]). Aug 31, 2013 at 17:53

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