In editing a recent question, I wrote:

In following, realtype stands for ...

Later, it got edited (two words were added) to read:

In the following example, realtype stands for ...

The latter edit is incorrect because realtype stands for the same thing in the whole question, not just in the example; but for the purpose of this question, that's minor and doesn't matter. The real question is whether in following is acceptable; is there any semantic or grammatical error with using in following instead of in the following?

I realize that in following is used only infrequently when in the following might be used in its place. In instances I looked at after a Google Books search, it was used mostly by Indian or German speakers of English; for example:

... the most relevant constraints ... are summarized in following. – Valuation of Network Effects in Software Markets, Andreas Kemper, 2009

Note, this question is not about how frequently one phrase or another is used; it's not about personal preferences or other ways to say the same thing; instead, it asks if use of in following violates any important English-language tenets.

  • 1
    As a German, in following indeed sounds fine to my ears because we commonly say "Im Folgenden" in German whereas using the would definitely need a noun, e.g. "In dem folgenden Abschnitt". - However, what I just want to say, that I'm not really surprised about your finding. – Em1 Sep 3 '12 at 6:45

As you found in your research, this may be dialectal. In British English, the is required to turn following into an adjective, rather than having it parsed as a verb.

In following [something] → the something is being followed
In the following [something] → the something follows

  • In following their officers’ orders, the Light Brigade charged into history.
  • In following examples, we learn from others [Verb: “By following examples”]
  • In the following examples, we learn from others [Adjective: “In the examples which follow this sentence”]

Context may allow the [something] to be omitted.

  • The officers gave orders to the men. In following [those orders], they rode to oblivion.
  • In the following [example], realtype stands for...

That is, in British English at least, a present participle is prioritised as a verb when used with in like this, and it needs the if it is to be parsed as an adjective.

  • 2
    @jwpat7 My sincerest apologies. I believe the rule Andrew Leach describes appies to American English as well. When I see "in following", it implies "in the process of following". It stuck out to me as incorrect because of the lack of a definite article. I would not have added "example", but the system would not allow a three letter correction. Honestly, the lack of an article did not prevent understanding. I'll research first in future editing attempts. – Mike Sep 3 '12 at 13:17
  • @Mike Your edit follows what I wrote and I think it was correct. In following for in the following is non-standard, in my experience. – Andrew Leach Sep 3 '12 at 13:30
  • Understood. That is why I posted the comment under your answer. Thank you. – Mike Sep 3 '12 at 13:48

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