1

A client has requested that I put a notice in the form of

ALL THE PRODUCTS ARE FOR RESEARCH USE ONLY

on a web page. However, the word "THE" in the sentence appears unnecessary in my opinion.

Is this phrase correct as is? Would it be better phrased as

ALL OUR PRODUCTS ARE FOR RESEARCH USE ONLY.
3

I disagree that "all products" implies all products in existence, because it is clear from the context that it refers only to products on this particular website.

Consider a menu that says "All prices include 10% service & 15% VAT" - one does not assume that this means all prices in existence, just those on this menu. (Not to mention that "All the products" and "All products" can both mean "All [the] products in existence").

As the definite article is used to distinguish a particular from a general, "the" in this context can be distracting. I almost expect the sentence to continue: "All the products we sell online (as opposed to those other ones that we only sell in-store)" or "All the products on page 1 (as opposed to those on the other pages)".

If you do wish to make a distinction, consider "All our products" or "All products on this website".

The choice of phrasing here is, however, a matter of stylistic preference. Any of the abovementioned examples will almost certainly be understood the same way.

  • 1
    +1 particularly for "the" in this context can be distracting. It is, as you say, essentially a stylistic choice. But in the absence of any specific reason why you should include extra words, why bother? Especially on a website, where unquestionably "less is more". – FumbleFingers Mar 20 '14 at 23:07
  • Thanks for the details, after a discussion with the client, we decided to use their wording. – Kami Mar 27 '14 at 10:40
  • The client is always right, after all! – nxx Mar 27 '14 at 15:07
1
ALL PRODUCTS ARE FOR RESEARCH USE ONLY

would be a good, concise explanation and would actually be a clear reference to only the products on the website, just from the context of its location.

-1

Saying

ALL PRODUCTS ARE FOR RESEARCH USE ONLY

seems to imply that all products (all products on Earth? all products in the known Universe?) are for research use only.

Using the definite article ("the") narrows the focus of the sentence to "the products" - i.e. the products which the web page is talking about.

Update, another possibility has been added to the question:

ALL OUR PRODUCTS ARE FOR RESEARCH USE ONLY.

That would be a good way of putting it, if it's true. Are all the organization's products for research use only? Or just the products listed on that web page? If the former, go with "our"; if the latter, "the".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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