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I don't know where I picked up the phrase seeing as Google has very few literal hits, but I want to use

"I'm looking for an employer who [....] is putting out an honest product"

in a job search ad.

Apart from having a bit of a colloquial touch (which is understood and intended), is this a valid phrase to use? Is it free from problematic connotations?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It seems an honest sentence to me. put [something] out has so many meanings that I usually avoid it altogether, to be on the safe side. From the New Oxford American Dictionary:

put something out
1. extinguish something that is burning (firefighters from Georgetown put out the blaze) • turn off a light.
2 lay something out ready for use: she put out glasses and paper napkins.
3 issue or broadcast something: a limited-edition single was put out to promote the album.
4 dislocate a joint: she fell off her horse and put her shoulder out.
5 (of a company) allocate work to a contractor or freelancer to be done off the premises.
6 (of an engine or motor) produce a particular amount of power: the new motor is expected to put out about 250 h.p.

It seems to me that your sentence uses meaning #3.


Edit: after reading again, there might be one minor nit. Put out, like the synonymous issue, seems to mark a single point in time: you put the product out when you publish it. Maybe you should be looking for something more continuous in time, like sell, distribute, offer, carry or market.

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It's certainly possible to use that sentence in an ad, and it would likely be understood in a general way. As F'x notes, there is nothing wrong with using "putting out" in that context.

Nevertheless, you may have to qualify what you mean by "honest"; stating the sentence the way you have may appear confrontational and even accusatory. An employer who reads it may pass over your résumé simply because they're not sure they can meet your high standards for probity because you haven't really stated what they are. With the exception of a few dyed-in-the-wool criminals, everyone likes to think they are honest to a degree, and that the products they make are not underhanded in any way. You risk offending these people unless you can clearly state what you mean by "honest" — and I would still recommend you find a better term to use, one that doesn't carry such negative (to them) connotations.

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thanks for your feedback! This is a part of a longer sentence in whose context I think the dangers you mention shouldn't be an issue but I will look carefully at this, and maybe remove it if there's the danger of misunderstanding. Cheers. –  Pekka 웃 Apr 27 '11 at 10:17

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