Is this correct:

For process stabilization an anti-foaming agent can be dosed into the tanks.

I use "dose" because I want to emphasize that the amount of stuff put into the tank is carefully monitored, but I'm unsure that you ay it like this in english.

2 Answers 2




verb 1. administer a dose to (a person or animal).
"he dosed himself with vitamins"

It is okay, and it is seen in use, including in the same context as in the question.

See 'chemical dosing' on Google Search.

One only needs to compare the structures:

  • For process stabilization an anti-foaming agent can be poured into the tanks. -->
  • For process stabilization an anti-foaming agent can be poured in measured quantites into the tanks. -->
  • For process stabilization an anti-foaming agent can be dosed into the tanks.
  • isn't the example you provided typical to medical field?
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 14, 2014 at 11:37
  • @Sandeep: That example just happens to be the "typical" usage given by the cited dictionary. Here are some examples of OP's exact text dosed into the tank, none of which appear to be "medical" contexts. Feb 14, 2014 at 12:26
  • @FumbleFingers Thanks for the link but only because an author used a word in a specific reference, we can't conclude that word was used correctly. Oxford dictionary defines dose(verb) as "adulterate or blend (a substance) with another substance"link. In my opinion the correct sentence would be For process stabilization an anti-foaming agent can be dosed with the contents of tanks.
    – Sandeep D
    Feb 14, 2014 at 12:54
  • @Sandeep Dhamija: Perhaps we don't have the same idea of what it means to use a word "correctly". I suspect you define it as "in accordance with what one or more dictionaries say", whereas I tend to think a usage can be "correct" so long as it's easily understood and doesn't grossly conflict with what most/all dictionaries say. FWIW though, I would say your suggested rephrasing is completely unacceptable. Since the anti-foaming agent is the "dose", it cannot itself be dosed with something else. Feb 14, 2014 at 13:17

Whilst I accept that there is a long-standing use of 'dose' as a verb, I have been pondering whether you are using it correctly.

Saying 'He dosed himself with vitamins' is one thing. But I initially had doubts about saying 'vitamins were dosed to him', which would be equivalent to your saying 'anti-foaming agent was dosed into the tank'. It made me wonder whether it would be better to say that 'the tank will be dosed with an anti-foaming agent'?

In short is it the medication which gets dosed to the patient, or the patient who is dosed with the medication?

My position would have been the latter, had it not been for an entry I discovered in the OED from 1758 (the most recent available):

1758 R. Pultney in Philos. Trans. 1757 (Royal Soc.) 50 74 They knew how to dose it very exactly.

  • I think your position is incorrect, and probably reflects the fact that you personally haven't been much involved in "non-medical" contexts where usage of the verb to dose is common. I posted a link to half-a-dozen instances of OP's exact text dosed into the tank, but there are 12,500 for dosed into the. With that kind of currency it's meaningless to suggest the usage is somehow "invalid". Feb 14, 2014 at 14:44
  • @Fumble Fingers I'm glad that I got the right answer, if by a circuitous route. However I am increasingly sceptical of a lot of these word usage searches. Who audits them?
    – WS2
    Feb 14, 2014 at 16:18
  • I'm not sure what you mean by "audits" there. If they came from Google Books then in general that means the words got past editors, proofreaders, typesetters, etc. Personally I usually just eyeball a page or two of results to make sure there's not some significant skew factor. With dosed into the above, that's all I did at the time, but I've just checked a couple of pages pre-1990, to make sure I'm not being misled by less reliable "e-pub" texts. It seems to be a well-established usage in the field of chemical engineering. Feb 14, 2014 at 19:21

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