Which is correct usage?

  • complaint dated 01.02.2013 by a customer
  • complaint dated 01.02.2013 of a customer
  • 1
    The better preposition is by. I'd also change the word ordering: "complaint by a customer dated 01.02.2013". In the future, I'd recommend asking a question like this at the English Language Learners Stack Exchange. You might want to check it out. – J.R. Feb 16 '13 at 8:04
  • 1
    In the context, from would go even better with dated. – Kris Feb 16 '13 at 8:17
  • 2
    Each preposition carries with it a different implication. The choice would depend on the context and what is exactly intended to convey: by, of, from, all are correct and acceptable accordingly. – Kris Feb 16 '13 at 8:19
  • Or avoid using a preposition altogether: customer complaint dated 01.02.2013. – Barrie England Feb 16 '13 at 8:49
  • Also see Complaint of vs complaint for, – James Waldby - jwpat7 Feb 16 '13 at 9:10

Both are correct, though the second is ambiguous, and there's a reason to favour yet another.

Complaint by a customer.

The customer made a complaint. It is not necessarily to you, though that would be guessed from context. It might be favoured if you were talking of a complaint made to a consumer association rather than to you.

Complaint of a customer.

Could mean the customer made a complaint, or could mean someone complained that there was a customer. At as stretch it could mean a complaint about a customer. It would be clear which meaning you meant, but the other possibilities can make it jar slightly.

Complaint from a customer.

The same as "by a customer", but with a stronger focus on the receiving of the complaint. While it could be used of a complaint made to another body (again, e.g. a consumer association), unless this was made clear, it would be understood as a complaint you yourself received.

So, if the records are of complaints directly received, favour from. If you are including both direct and indirect complaints, favour by.


complaint dated 01.02.2013 by a customer

complaint dated 01.02.2013 of a customer

'tis neither

complaint dated 01.02.2013 from a customer

But 'complaint dated 01.02.2013 of a customer' would imply that the customer is the subject of the complaint.

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