Use of the definite article before product names

Subject: Use of the definite article before product names
From: stephen lubell <steven -at- RADMAIL -dot- RAD -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 15:41:52 -0800

Greetings All!

I would welcome the opinion of fellow tech writers on the following point:

Should the definite article be used BEFORE the name of a product, when it
is in the form of "alphabet soup names", such as FOM-59, SPD-4, or LSD-1?
The following examples from a recent data sheet should give an idea of of
the type of text:

The ASP-20 Short Range Modem operates synchronously at full or half duplex
over unconditioned lines. It has a range of xx km (xx miles) and operates
at data rates from xx kbps up to xx kbps (xx kbps optional).

The ASP-20 incorporates interface circuits for the terminal/computer, an
automatic equalizer, a modulator, a demodulator and diagnostics circuitry.

The ASP-20 features V.xx diagnostic capabilities to perform local analog
loopback and local and remote digital loopback. The loops can be manually
activated from the front panel or via control signals from the interface
connector.

The ASP-20 is available as a desk-top unit or as a rack-mount card for a
19" rack.

The ASP-20 also operates in conjunction with the MCP-C20 dual modem card of
the MCP-12 Monitoring and Control System.

The general rule is that one does not usually use the definite article
before a proper noun, such as the name of a person, geographical entity or
certain well-known abbreviations (UNESCO ...) But I am quite convinced that
the definite article should be used before the name of a product as shown
above.

Any comments? Any rule of thumb to follow?

With thanks!


Stephen Lubell
Technical Documentation Department
RAD Data Communications Ltd
12 HaNechoshet Street
Tel Aviv 69710
Tel: ++972+3+6455306
Fax: ++972+3+6483331




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