Any application form <not filled?> can not ....

jackchow

Senior Member
Hi,
Please look at this question:
Any application form____can not be accepted by the company.
A not filled
B not being filled
C not having been filled
I wonder which of the answers is OK to the question. Does answer A sound natural to you?
Thanks!
 
  • LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    I think the best alternative would be not filed, but I do not like it too much in this construction. It might work in a sentence like: A copy of a tax return not filed with the IRS cannot be accepted by the mortgage company.
     

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    Indian English
    If I am left with no other option but to choose from these alternatives and have to use this sentence only, then I also would go with "not filled".
    But they are not natural, rather it's pretty odd.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Phrases like A generally work fine when there's a complement of some sort to follow.

    e.g.
    Any application form not filled by the applicant themselves cannot be accepted.

    Without it, I agree it feels wrong -- like placing an adjective after the noun when there's no need for it.
    However, I can't think of any grammatical rule that explicitly bans it (which doesn't mean there isn't one, of course).
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    If we have to use "not filled", we need a preposition: "not filled out" for American English or "not filled in" for British English. There will be problems with A, B and C even if we add a preposition.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I believe the two halves of the truth have been uttered by LV4-26 and Sound Shift. Not only do we need a preposition to go with "fill", but also the participial phrase in post-modification to "application form", i.e., "not filled", is incomplete. I do not know why this is so, but without a complement this phrase sounds wrong in post-modification.
     
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    Fabulist

    Banned
    American English
    Even inserting the grammatical "not filled out/in" leaves us with a rather nonsensical sentence. Of course, the company can't accept a blank application form. The sentence would make sense if it read, "Any application form not filled out/in completely can not be accepted by the company."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Any application form____can not be accepted by the company.

    One problem is that you do not "fill" an application form, you fill an application form out or (strangely) fill it in.

    another is that you are trying to use not filled/not being filled/not having been filled as a post-positional adjectival phrase, and this is awkward.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    An unfilled application form could work in certain contexts, to describe the form before it's filled in, or a form used as a template.
    The problem with not filled is that -- unlike filled-in or unfilled -- it can't be placed before the noun because of the not.

    It can't be placed after it either, as has been pointed out.

    If I were enjoined to choose the "least bad" option, I think I would go for C, not having been filled (in). Awkward though it sounds, it's the kind of wording you could find in some legal documents...
     
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