I ran across the following passage on a package of tea: "As the farmers all our teas come with a Tea Passport guaranteeing quality and sustainability from bush to cup". I don't see how this could be gramatically correct, but maybe I'm missing something? The closest gramatically correct sentence I could think of would be: "[Just] as the farmers[,] all our teas come with a Tea Passport ...". This would be gramaticaly correct but would probably not make much sense ("both our farmers and our teas come with a tea passport"). Any other suggestions? The tea is packaged in the UK so I assume it's British English.


5 Answers 5


I suspect the intended meaning is, "As the farmers, we provide all our teas with a Tea Passport..."

The producers are saying that they have farmed the tea themselves, rather than bought it from others, and therefore can vouch for its "quality and sustainability".

  • I agree, there's a "we take responsibility" implication. Dec 27, 2020 at 9:01

I think this may be a case of a misplaced modifier.

Consider the part As the farmers, all our teas...

It seems to suggest that teas are the farmers.

Equivalently, if you use the participle phrase Being the farmers, all our teas..., the participle phrase Being the farmers is left dangling.

So, one might rephrase the sentence as—

As the farmers we sell all our teas with a tea passport, guaranteeing quality and sustainability from bush to cup.

  • 2
    A 'misplaced modifier' is put in the incorrect place in a sentence. The place for this seems to be in the wastebin. The whole sentence needs reconstructing, not re-ordering. Dec 26, 2020 at 19:29
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    @EdwinAshworth - you see this sometimes from native speakers, e.g. "As the manager, nobody is allowed in the cafeteria before 12:30 PM". Dec 27, 2020 at 11:31
  • @Michael Harvey If you look at say Collins' definition, 'misplaced' in 'misplaced modifier' means 'in the wrong place with respect to another element in the sentence', not the more general 'misused'. ie not close enough to what it is really modifying. 'As the manager' in your example can only be short for 'Speaking as the manager: ...' It requires a change in the grammar of the whole, to show that 'Speaking as the manager' is a comment clause, a pragmatic marker. It modifies the whole sentence following, and is ... Dec 27, 2020 at 14:57
  • correctly positioned (as a sentence introduction). 'As the manager' is just a non-standard reduction. Dec 27, 2020 at 14:59

As it stands this sentence is grammatical (with the added comma), but makes no sense (the farmers come with a Passport… and so do the teas.).

What was probably meant and what makes most sense is this.

  • As we are also the farmers growing those teas, we are able to guarantee quality and sustainability from bush to cup and that is ascertained for each one of them in the Passport that comes with it.
  • It would be interesting to know if the farmers are also the ones selling the tea, which is not clear in the question. However I read/understood in the same way. Dec 27, 2020 at 0:01

I hear a mistranslation and a word that is missing, but assumed:

"As the farmers know, all our teas come with blah, blah, blah, but really."

As it stands, our farmers are dangling in wait of Lord-knows-what but a hook to hang their straw hat on.

Remember that marketing BS does not have to do more than put us in a good mood. So when all else fails, I drop my standards and say Charming. Hopefully, we can move on.

Consider that in the US our Truth-in-Advertising laws allow for evocative language such as soap that is 99 and 44/100% pure without factually assuring that percentage (since 1895).

When language becomes a slogan, it earns some leeway.

And that's 150% true.

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    @KannE: It occurs to me that "As tea farmers" is only a short typo-hop from "As thé farmers." I wonder if the translator just mixed up their European languages for a moment! Dec 27, 2020 at 20:18

The sentence is something akin to the passive voice: although grammatically speaking, the subject of the main verb is "all our teas", the teas aren't really performing the action, they are the recipient of the action. A more clearly passive voice construction would be "all our teas are sent with a Tea Passport guaranteeing quality and sustainability from bush to cup", and the active voice version of that would be "we send all our teas with a Tea Passport guaranteeing quality and sustainability from bush to cup". Then "As the farmers" modifies "we". So this is a case where the writer has two different factually equivalent, but not grammatically equivalent, phrasings in their head, and the write one down, while having the other in mind when they including the modifier at the beginning of the sentence.

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