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In April 1997, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled that toothpaste manufacturers weren’t adhering closely enough to voluntary safety guidelines. As a result, all toothpaste tubes now bear a scary-sounding warning. It was like this one: “Keep out of the reach of children under 6 years of age. If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a poison control center right away.” In the months following the new warning, toothpaste consumer lines fielded hundreds of questions from worried parents, and poison control centers were flooded with calls as well. They told parents the same thing: your child is fine and may vomit, or not. The only reason to see a doctor, however, is if the vomiting gets so serious that dehydration becomes an issue. That’s right: you can eat your fill of delicious toothpaste and not come away with anything more serious than nausea and diarrhea.

If more than used for brushing

How should I get this? I think it should be like "If more than is used for brushing", don't you? How do I have to grasp "than" in syntax aspect? It's conjuction?

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    The first 'is' needs to be left out. Otherwise 'is' would show up twice: "If more than is used for brushing is accidentally swallowed." We understand the missing part as "If more (toothpaste) than (normally) used for brushing is swallowed." – Yosef Baskin Mar 31 '17 at 19:02
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For this question, you guys are looking at the phrase "If more than used for brushing". Instead, look at the whole sentence, "If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help...".

If you look at the whole phrase, then you can see that the sentence is really saying, "If you accidentally swallow more toothpaste than usually used for brushing, get medical help...".

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MORE is a noun here, meaning " an extra amount or extent" and it is qualified by an adjective phrase " than used for brushing" in reality a reduced noun clause– what's used​ for brushing, object to the preposition ' than '.

The comparison is between ' more ' and ' used for brushing(amount) ' , and together they form a moun phrase subject to the verb ' is swallowed '. To get straight at the meaning we would suggest to segregate " than used for brushing " with commas before and after.

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I agree with English Student that statutorily-required warnings need not be grammatically perfect. In fact, grammar for such warnings is irrelevant; all that is important is following the statute/code/regulation/etc.

The above-mentioned warning is found in 21 CFR Sec. 355.50(c)(1) and adds another warning for a couple of non-dentifrice products in subparagraph 2. Specifically, the Code states the following:

(c) Warning. The labeling of the product contains the following warning under the heading "Warning":

(1) For all fluoride dentifrice (gel, paste, and powder) products. "Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. [highlighted in bold type] If more than used for brushing is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away." These warnings shall be used in place of the general warning statements required by 330.1(g) of this chapter.

(2) For all fluoride rinse and preventive treatment gel products. "Keep out of reach of children. [highlighted in bold type] If more than used for" (select appropriate word: "brushing" or "rinsing") "is accidentally swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away." These warnings shall be used in place of the general warning statements required by 330.1(g) of this chapter.

In reading this Code, it is clear that the US Government wanted manufacturers to use the specific language provided. Failure to do so could result in FDA-imposed fines.

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Yours is the most likely interpretation, yes.

It's entirely possible that the author merely goofed and omitted a word (which then gets quoted all over the place). Alternately, they may have been employing a substitution principle where "used for brushing" is equated with, say, "N grams". Both specify a measurement value, and therefore both are ruled grammatically correct within the sentence above. Meaning it's an awkward construction, but nevertheless correct. One would want to check whether they did the same thing elsewhere. I have no idea how common this phrasing is in legal text, and don't know how to begin to find out aside from becoming a legal assistant.

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The technically correct usage would seem to be "more than what is (usually) used for brushing," so it appears that a few words have been dropped "in the interests of brevity" -- of course a statutory warning on a toothpaste carton need not necessarily be grammatically perfect, as long as it does not make a glaring error! However the whole sentence seems rather awkward, and I would restructure it as follows: "if your child accidentally swallows more than usually used for brushing, etc." In conclusion it seems an acceptable contraction for its purpose.

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