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.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

This is the first year I noticed the verbal boilerplate at the end of US political commercials states:

Group X is responsible for the content of this advertising.

compared to what I recall (and prefer) from previous years,

Group X is responsible for the content of this advertisement.

I understand advertisements to be the end result of advertising (supported here) - and my second example feels/sounds more right to me than the first.

However, I also found a number of definitions similar to the second definition on dictionary.com: paid announcements; advertisements suggesting the two words are completely interchangeable.

Is this a result of some crusade in the advertising business to change terminology, a result of the plurality of the times the advertisement is run, or am I just being overly picky and I need to get over my distinct preference for advertisement?

share|improve this question
They are interchangeable. Both are used as nouns. If there's any distinction between the two, it's that advertising (in this case) is a mass noun, but I don't think that has any effect on the legal side (IANAL). In both sentences, it is this ad. An advertising campaign may have multiple advertisements, but this draws attention to a particular ad, not necessarily the ad campaign as a whole. – Zairja Nov 5 '12 at 18:06
@Zairja, good points. I believe my preference (and frustration) stems from the use of the mass noun when speaking of this ad. While advertising can also be a verb, advertisement is always a noun - a simpler, clearer use, IMO. – rand0m1 Nov 5 '12 at 18:36

I believe that in this instance, "advertising" is still valid because while your seeing/listening to their (often ridiculous & outright false) advertisement, they're still responsible for the advertising that the given advertisement is a part of.

share|improve this answer
Thanks - I agree it's valid. I just think it's the less clear choice and was hoping I'd get either some validation for my perspective or evidence to counter it. – rand0m1 Nov 5 '12 at 20:25
I think it's really a matter of opinion. Although, I prefer the "this advertisement" variation as well; it's more specific. Is it any surprise that politicians have been opting for the more ambiguous wording though? :-P – Alexander Nov 5 '12 at 20:44

Your Answer


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.