Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

An English book tells me that the following sentence is correct:

This publication is made from paper from sustainable forests.

Shouldn't it be of paper instead?

share|improve this question
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There's no issue of should/shouldn't involved here - it's just a stylistic choice.

I think the writer in this case chose to use from because made of more strongly implies that the publication is nothing more than paper, whereas from carries more the implication of using (perhaps along with other ingredients).

That's to say, the publication in total is made from/using many things (including the labour of the writer, publisher, etc). And possibly some old recycled rags, since pure wood-pulp paper isn't always of the best quality.

A similar situation arises with toilet rolls, which are often claimed to be made from recycled paper. The manufacturers know perfectly well that toilet paper made entirely of recycled paper isn't actually much good. They don't want to call attention to the fact that there is probably some fresh wood-pulp in the mix; using the word from helps present things the way they want.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Both are found, but evidence from British and American corpora and from the Oxford English Dictionary shows that made of is much more common than made from.

share|improve this answer
    
Not scientific, I know, but googling quotated "made of paper from sustainable forests" returns 611 hits, where the same using from returns 2120 results. All other things being equal, I'd expect many people to try and avoid repeating the word "from" in this context, so there must be a fairly strong pressure from some other quarter making them still do it. –  FumbleFingers Oct 24 '11 at 18:00
    
Even less scientific, but ‘made of’ produces 7,390,000,000 results, ‘made from, 5,000,000,000! –  Barrie England Oct 24 '11 at 20:01
    
Yes, but we are very specifically concerned with why "product description writers" apparently prefer this somewhat ungainly repetition of from, when the rest of the world prefers of even when there's not necessarily any repetition involved. –  FumbleFingers Oct 24 '11 at 21:21
    
Perhaps for that very reason. –  Barrie England Oct 25 '11 at 6:10
add comment

I believe that in food labels the difference between "made of" and "made from" becomes important because of legal considerations. Roughly speaking, if the label says "made of natural ingredients" then the food is supposed to consist entirely of natural ingredients; "made from natural ingredients," on the other hand, only implies that some natural ingredients are present. (The exact legal requirements probably vary from one country to another; in particular, "some natural ingredients" may mean a specified minimum percentage.)

share|improve this answer
    
I think it's highly unlikely that any legislature in any Anglophone country has ever enacted a "legal" distinction between being made of and made from whatever ingredient is being promoted by the producer/seller. –  FumbleFingers Jul 18 '13 at 3:36
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.