assignment vs assigned

AJ   Tue Aug 22, 2006 1:23 am GMT
I'd like to know..
Which form do you prefer between those two below?
And which is more common?
I prefer the second one because 'assignment' always reminds me of 'act of assigning, not something assigned'.

How about you as a native speaker?

container assignment

assigned container
Tiffany   Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:15 am GMT
The statements are not equivalent to my knowledge.

In "container assignment", "assignment" is the noun, while "container" is an adjective used to describe the type of "assignment."

In "assigned container", the opposite is true, "container" is the noun, while "assigned" describes the "container."

Sentences that demonstrates this.

"You will each have an assigned container." (meaning some sort of box/basket that has been given to you).

"Here is your container assignment" (this refers to a sheet of paper perhaps, or a something that will let you know which container is assigned to you).
AJ   Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:29 am GMT
I really appreciate your detailed explanation, Tiffany.
It's easy to understand and helps a lot~!

I wonder another thing.
Is there any chance that the two can overlap in meaning?
Deborah   Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:23 am GMT
I don't know the context you've seen these terms in, but I can imagine a situation where the two have the same meaning, for all intents and purposes:

This batch's container assignment is 12-B.

This batch's assigned container is 12-B.
Tiffany   Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:22 am GMT
Yes, in that context Deborah, I could see how they could overlap, but I maintain that "container assignment" and "assigned container" have distinct meanings, though the final meaning of the sentences is the same.

In Deborah's sentences above, both ultimately say that the specified batch is given container 12-B. The first sentence says that something (paper, ticket, file etc.) assigned the batch to container 12-B. The second sentence just says the container 12-B is assigned to the batch, with no mention of the actual assignment (paper, ticket, file etc.). However, the conclusion is the same.

So yes AJ, I think they can both be manipulated in sentences so that the sentences mean essentially the same thing - this is where I see overlap coming in, however the phrases by themselves are never equivalent in meaning.
AJ   Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:04 am GMT
Thanks again.. a bit confused..
By the way, What is batch??
Deborah   Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:24 am GMT
"Batch" has several definitions. What I had in mind for my example was its least specific one: a group of objects. However, any of it's definition would work as well.

1. An amount produced at one baking: a batch of cookies.
2. A quantity required for or produced as the result of one operation: made a batch of cookie dough; mixed a batch of cement.
3. A group of persons or things: a batch of tourists; a whole new batch of problems.
4. Computer Science A set of data or jobs to be processed in a single program run.
tr.v. batched, batch·ing, batch·es
To assemble or process as a batch.
Deborah   Tue Aug 22, 2006 8:25 am GMT
any of it's definition --> any of its definitions
AJ   Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:17 pm GMT
This question is still unsolved to me.

Additional question..

I wonder why 'assignment' always should be referred as "'a sheet(or likes)" that contains details about what are assigned to where.

We call a homework an assignment, don't we?
So 'assignment' can be 'an assigned something', which make me think
'container assignment(s)' and 'assigned container(s)' easily can be interchangeable without losing any meaning.

And what about material specification, inspection specification, then?
Can they be clearly understood as 'specified material(s)' and 'specified inspection(s)' and have no problem?

I am really confused..
Tiffany   Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:13 pm GMT
I'm not really sure how to explain tis to you in a better way.

An assignment, which lets someone know something to assigned to someone, does not have to be a sheet or paper. I could also verbally give the assignment to you, or the thought could be transmitted in some other fashion.

Having an assigned something, precludes having an assignment to that something. One cannot happen without the other.

Think of it like this: If you are assigned x, z must have given you the assignment.

x can be any noun that you can have possession of (a dog, homework, container)

z must be something that can transmit the thought that you are assigned x - be that a piece of paper, a teacher/person, an e-mail, etc.

Homework is assigned work, assigned by a teacher. When the teacher asks you if you have completed your assignments, she is asking if you completed the assigned work that she assigned you to do.

A material specification is something that specifies what must make up a material. It is like a recipe, a sheet of rules. This is the same for an inspection specification.

Once again, the words you think are alternates are not interchangeable at all levels.

Pretend X is a material, perhaps a telephone. We want to write down all the basic rules for what parts to use to build a telephone, so we have a "telephone specification". "Specified telephone" would refer to a specific telephone, something entirely different.
mike   Fri Sep 29, 2006 3:08 am GMT
I would think of it only in this way:

A. Container assignment: imagine your teacher explains an exercise relating to a container (for example how to fill a container with water…just like in physics questions). The teacher could give this exercise as an assignment and will refer to it,the assignment, as the “container assignment”. You CAN’T say here “assigned container”

B. Assigned container: Now if the teacher tells you that each will be given a container which contains inside some tests or exercises or tasks to be done, then the teacher would refer to the containers as “assigned container”

BUT, in situation B, if the teacher is focusing on the idea or the method of how the test or task will be given to the students (which is to put the assignment in a container), then he could also refer to this whole thing by saying “the container assignment”

P.S: I am a non-native.
AJ   Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:00 am GMT
Tiffany, I loved your answer and efforts to dumb it down.
I really appreciate it.

I understand it like this.. correct me if I'm wrong.

When 'assignment' is modified by a noun adjective, the meaning and usage of 'assignment' are restricted to 'something that let you know what goes to where(or whom).

When 'assignment' is used alone, however, the meaning and usage tend to be restricted to 'assigned something'.

For example..
As for 'homework assignment', 'assignment' is a sheet(or likes) that shows which assined to which.
As for 'assignment' alone, now it can mean 'assigned homework(or others)'.

Am I correct(not confident..)?
mike   Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:50 am GMT
I think you are still confuse!
mike   Fri Sep 29, 2006 7:51 am GMT
I mean "confused"
Amanda   Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm GMT
I'm not a teacher, but since American English is my native language, I'll try to explain as best I can.

Assigned = to have been given a task. "The teacher assigned us some homework."

Assignment = the task itself. "The teacher gave us a homework assignment."

So, you could say:

"The homework assignment was to read the book."

"The assigned homework was to read the book."

Both are correct and mean the same thing, but the first sentence is a bit more common in every day speech. In the first sentence, "homework" and "assignment" have the same meaning. They both mean "task". So you could also just say: "The assignment was to read the book." or "The homework was to read the book." In the second sentence, "assigned homework" means the homework that was given to you. It's less common because the word "homework" itself sort of implies that it was given to you, so you really don't have to say "assigned homework". Again, you could just say "The homework was to read the book."

Now, the following sentences are NOT interchangeable:

assigned container = "The teacher assigned me a container."

container assignment = "The teacher gave me a container assignment."

These sentences have separate meanings. The first sentence means the teacher gave you an actual container. The second means the teacher gave you a *task* relating to, about, or involving a container. Remember, in this case, "assignment" literally means "task".

In other cases, "assignment" can also mean the act of assigning. "The container assignment is taking place." meaning: "The containers are being given out." Using "assignment" in this case is slightly rare, but it happens sometimes. It depends on the context.

I admit it's a bit confusing. I apologize if I've made it worse!