We're designing short informative messages to be displayed as feedback on a design application. The usage of a particular type of lens is either recommended or recommended against.

The positive message is:

Type-1 lens recommended for this design

For the negative message, we could have:

Type-1 lens not recommended for this design

But I'm not sure this is assertive enough, since we want to actively advise against using it, and this sounds neutral to me (We don't recommend it, but we aren't recommending against it, if you know what I mean). I thought of:

Type-1 lens discouraged for this design

but I'm not sure if it's correct, or if it sounds weird.

It would be easier if we used active sentences ('We recommend' as opposed to 'This is recommended'), but we prefer to keep a passive voice.

Is there a good option?

  • More context will help. Is some lens required for each design? In that case, you can say (for example), Type-2 lens is recommended ... which should implicitly recommend that type-1 lens should not be used. Of course, this assumes only one lens can be used at a time. Nov 18, 2018 at 11:21
  • Native English speakers would generally interpret "not recommended" as advice that you shouldn't use it. However, people for whom English is a second language may misinterpret it. Nov 18, 2018 at 12:26
  • @PeterShor, it is true that most English speakers would interpret 'not recommended to use it' as a recommendation not to use it, but that is a matter of pragmatics. So far as semantics is concerned,'not recommended' is indeed, as OP puts it, neutral. Interpreting it as neutral would be a mistake in the context of a casual everyday conversation, but it is not a mistake to be mindful, as the OP is, of its being strictly speaking neutral, if one is drafting an important document.
    – jsw29
    Nov 18, 2018 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


I'd prefer

type 1 lenses are recommended for this design

You might say

Use of type 1 lenses is discouraged for this design

  • I think you are right, plus one. "Discouraged" carries just the right amount of advice to avoid that type of component.
    – BoldBen
    Dec 19, 2018 at 4:32

The question may be more related to the level of trust in the reader, and how well your wishes are catered for in the surrounding context.

'Recommended against' sounds like a translation from something that is effective in another language and culture.

'Discouraged' is problematic, as living beings can be discouraged but it is difficult to see how a lens can be discouraged. We would need to rewrite the sentence, which would then not match your 'recommended' sentence format.

If the need is to discourage use of a lens, we can try:

  • Type-1 lens not recommended for this design

If we wish to prevent the use of a lens, we can try:

  • Type-1 lens rejected for this design
  • Type-1 lens not applicable for this design
  • 1
    It's fine to say something like "smoking is discouraged", meaning that people are discouraged from smoking (to parallel the OP's intent that their readers are discouraged from using a particular lens type for a given design). It's not the lens itself that is somehow made to feel discouraged.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 18, 2018 at 10:12
  • I don't think "not applicable" is what the poster intends. You wouldn't really use "applicable" to physical objects. And I don't think the poster means "Type-1 lenses won't fit in the apparatus". I think s/he means "Results with type 1 lenses will be not as good as compared to using another lens"
    – swbarnes2
    Dec 19, 2018 at 17:36
  • There is no reason why we should not use 'applicable' for physical things, because 'apply' is used for both physical and non-physical things. In this case, however, it is the question of use that is applicable, not the actual lens on the camera. As to what the poster intends, only they know that. Jan 2, 2019 at 7:35

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