Pending Approval or Approval Pending? Which is correct?

The word order in the English language can be a little variable, which might lead to some uncertainty regarding the ideal method to communicate certain ideas. Whether you use ‘pending approval’ or ‘approval pending’ depends on the way that you are using it because both versions are an acceptable form of usage. 

Continue reading on to learn more about the etymology of the word phrase and a few examples on how to effectively use the term.

Difference between ‘Pending Approval’ and ‘Approval Pending’

When you say or write that something is “pending approval,” it is referring to the action you are awaiting. When you write or say, “approval pending,” you would mean that the approval is awaiting further action, which may or may not constitute the approval itself.

If you switch the word order between “pending approval” and “approval pending” there are two main consequences. The first consequence is that it changes the word that you emphasize. The second consequence is that it changes the word that may or may not be open to further explanation.

When you use the term ‘pending approval,’ the approval process is highlighted. This means that the approval process is the section that has been left open for additional elaboration. The pending action is highlighted in “approval pending.” To put it another way, the awaiting action is the part of the sentence that has been left open for additional elaboration.

Pending Approval Examples

Here are some examples of ways that you would use ‘pending approval’ within a sentence:

  • My vacation is pending approval from leadership.
  • My enrollment application is still pending approval.
  • She submitted her resume and now it is pending approval.

In each of these examples, an action has been taken and someone or something is waiting on an outside approval of some sort.

Approval Pending Examples

Sometimes you will want to use the phrase ‘approval pending’. Here are some examples of how you can use this phrase:

  • The court may suspend the approval pending the outcome of the hearing.
  • The status of my application is still approval pending, even though I submitted it two weeks ago.

An effortless way to know if you are using the phrase correctly or not is the ending of the sentence. A sentence can end with ‘pending approval’ but a sentence cannot end with ‘approval pending’. The ‘approval pending’ form cannot be at the end of a sentence because it must have additional context alongside it.