10 Other Words for “Not Started”

Do you want to know the best one-word synonyms for showing you haven’t started something yet?

Perhaps you’re concerned that “not started” isn’t the best phrase to use professionally.

Well, it’s good you came across this article.

We will teach you another word for “not started” to help you get to the point quickly.

Is It Professional to Say “Not Started”?

It is not professional to say “not started.” It’s a simplistic phrase that shows you haven’t started something, but it’s not formal, so you should try to avoid it in business contexts.

It’s not a good word to use in Excel when naming a column. It’s also not a great choice when naming a folder since it’s two words and is a bit jarring.

You can use it in an email, but there are better ways to show you haven’t yet begun something.

Still, check out the following email sample to learn more about it:

Dear Hugh,

I’m afraid I have not started the project yet.

However, I’m more than happy to hear what input you might have.

All the best,
Rosanne Milton


  • It’s a simple phrase used to show you haven’t started something yet.
  • It’s direct and gets to the point.


  • It’s not the best phrase to use formally.
  • Since it’s two words, it’s long-winded and often irrelevant to use as a folder name.

Well, it’s probably best to avoid using “not started” in most situations. But that’s okay! You’re not out of options yet. It’s time to see what formal synonyms are out there for you.

Keep reading to learn a better word for “not started.” We’ve gathered a great list of synonyms to give you a demonstration of what might work.

What to Say Instead of “Not Started”

  • Uninitiated
  • Undeveloped
  • Untouched
  • Inchoate
  • Preliminary
  • Commencing
  • Uncommenced
  • Incipient
  • Unbegun
  • Embryonic

1. Uninitiated

Let’s start with “uninitiated.” This is a professional way to say “not started” that streamlines things by keeping to using one word.

Generally, this works well when you want to get to the point quickly.

So, you can use it when talking about projects that you have not yet started. For instance, it can work when contacting your employer to let them know your plans for upcoming projects.

Also, it’s a good choice when writing folder names for incomplete or unstarted projects. The one-word choice makes things much easier to understand.

Feel free to review this email sample to learn more about it:

Dear Ms. Bryant,

This project is currently uninitiated.

I have a plan of attack, but I probably won’t start it until next week.

Tyler Branning

2. Undeveloped

You should also try writing “undeveloped” when you have not started yet. It shows that you plan to start something soon, but you haven’t developed any of the foundations.

For the most part, this is good to use in formal situations. People will understand what you’re talking about, as it shows you haven’t developed a situation further.

It can work well when discussing plans with coworkers. You might want to use it when writing about incomplete or unstarted projects, too.

So, check out this sample email to learn a bit more about it:

Dear Michael,

This is an undeveloped project, so we need to do something about it.

However, I’m not sure whether I can fit it into my current work schedule.

George Washington

3. Untouched

Next, you can use “untouched” to mix things up more. It’s another term for “not started” that shows you haven’t even thought about completing something yet.

Generally, you can use this when asking employees what their plans are. If you’ve noticed that they haven’t touched a project, it might be worth asking them more about it.

Also, you can use it to fill in folder names with a one-word alternative. One word for a folder name is always better than two, after all!

So, check out this example to learn more about it:

Dear Hillary,

I notice that this project is currently untouched.

Do you have an estimated day for when you might be able to complete this?

All the best,
Jon Walker

4. Inchoate

Now, here’s a word you might not have seen before.

You can use “inchoate” as another way to say “not started.”

The definition of “inchoate,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “being only partly in existence or operation.”

It’s effective if you’re the only person who will need to use the word. So, you can use it when naming folders that suggest you haven’t started working on a few projects.

Of course, it’s unique because it’s not something people will often come across in their writing. That’s what helps this one to stand out.

You might use it when emailing your employer if you’re going to send them a folder entitled “Inchoate” with all your incomplete projects.

Check out this example to learn more:

Dear Miss Jones,

I have attached my inchoate folder to give you an idea of what I’m working on.

Please let me know if you have any questions about it.

Best wishes,
Sam Bradley

5. Preliminary

You may also write “preliminary” instead of “not started.” This is an excellent way to be formal and clear when you haven’t yet started working on a project or system.

Generally, this can work well when reporting to your boss. It lets them know what you plan to do with a project and why you haven’t started it yet.

This often allows you to be more professional, too. So, you really can’t go wrong when using something like this.

If you still don’t get it, you can review this sample email:

Dear Mr. Danforth,

This is my preliminary idea for the project.

I haven’t started working on it yet because I wanted to run the ideas by you first.

All the best,
Zoe Canteen

6. Commencing

It’s good to use “commencing” in some instances to show that you plan on starting a project soon.

Generally, you can use this to discuss upcoming projects with clients. It’s an effective way to let them know what to expect from you or your company.

It’s also formal, which is why it’s quite an effective choice in most email formats.

Feel free to review this example if you still need help with it:

Dear Miss Howett,

I have attached a list of commencing projects to show you what’s to come.

Let me know if there’s anything that stands out for you.

All the best,
Joey Swanson

7. Uncommenced

It’s also good to use “uncommenced” as another way to say “not started.”

This is an excellent way to suggest that you haven’t started a project yet but plan to do so soon.

Generally, you can use this when writing to a coworker. It could be a chance for you to explain more about an upcoming project and what you plan to do with it.

Also, you can check out this example to learn more:

Dear Adrienne

This project is uncommenced, but I’d like your ideas first.

Do you know the best ways to complete something like this?

Tommy Shaw

8. Incipient

Feel free to mix things up by using “incipient” as well.

The definition of “incipient,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “beginning to come into being or to become apparent.”

Again, it’s not something you might have heard before (similar to “inchoate”). However, it’s a great way to be more unique when naming projects you have yet to begin.

You can also check out this email sample to find out more about it:

Dear Ms. Murphy,

Please review all the incipient projects before you decide which one I should complete.

I’m looking forward to receiving your feedback.

Daniel Hunt

9. Unbegun

Next, you can simplify things by using “unbegun” instead of “not started.” It quite literally means “not begun,” which is a direct and useful synonym to include in your writing.

Generally, you can use this when writing to a coworker.

It suggests that you haven’t started (and don’t yet plan on starting) a project you might be working on with them.

It’s a great way to be direct and clear when letting someone know that you haven’t put time into a project yet.

Also, you may want to check out this example to find out more:

Dear Michael,

I have put this in the unbegun folder.

It’s not something I’ve devoted time to, but I’d like your help moving forward.

Best regards,
Tom Walker

10. Embryonic

Finally, you can use “embryonic” as another term for “not started.”

The definition of “embryonic,” according to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “being in an early stage of development.”

It refers to something that hasn’t yet begun to develop. This could work really well as a one-word variation for “not started” to help you branch out.

Generally, it’s quite a well-understood word in English. After all, “embryo” is well-known, so people will often be able to work out what you mean when using this.

Feel free to review this sample email to learn a bit more:

Dear Miss Patterson,

This is in the embryonic stage right now because I’ve not invested time into it.

Please leave it with me, and I’ll get back to you.

My best,
Russell Towers