Complete vs. Completed

I have the big job of pulling together the weekly status report for my team. Many items are wrapping up in the construction and commissioning section, and the question today from the Peanut Gallery is:
“Which is right?  Action Item A is completed? Or Action Item A was completed?”

The word “complete” is both an adjective and a transitive verb.
As an adjective, “complete” means fully constituted of all of its parts or steps, fully carried out, or thorough.
The Starship Enterprise made out of Lego blocks is finally complete.
Mary is planning a complete renovation of her kitchen.

As a transitive verb, “complete” means to bring to an end or a perfected status.
The contractor completed the foundation work on Tuesday.
The football quarterback completed a 75-yard pass for the touchdown.

Therefore, something is complete, or something has been or was completed.
Therefore, Action Item A is complete (adjective), or Action Item A was completed (past tense verb). Action Item A “is completed” is wrong, although “is being completed” or “is going to be completed” are proper verb forms.


7 Responses to “Complete vs. Completed”

  1. J. L. Says:

    Excellent explanation. The best found.

  2. Daniel Fernandez Says:

    What an awesome explanation, for real. I am not a native speaker and I freekin loved it.

  3. Luis Says:

    Examples and explanation, excellent , Thanks

  4. GrammerF Says:

    Makes a sense. Thanks!

  5. Garry Says:

    Well, after completing a thorough search for “complete” vs. “completed” on the internet, I finally found this completely comprehensive explanation of how “complete” is both an adjective and a transitive verb and how it shall be used. Now I completely understand the difference. This completes my reply. Thank you.

  6. Anon Says:

    Why do we say it is finished then and not it is finish?

    • petrocomputing Says:

      We say it is the finish when we want to say it is the end, e.g., the finish line. Finish is not used as an adjective the way complete can be used as an adjective.

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