Re: Use of the definite article before product names

Subject: Re: Use of the definite article before product names
From: Ronni Geist <ronni -at- GEISTWRITERS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 10:14:31 -0500

Stephen -

Try substituting a noun (for example, the name of the product) in place
of the acronym to determine whether an article is needed.

For example, if one were writing about a modem manufactured by Modems
International, an article would NOT be necessary before the proper

To install Modems International's new 56K modem...

However, if one were writing about the modem, without the name of the
manufacturer, an article WOULD be appropriate...

To install the modem...

Therefore, if using an acronym instead of the name, an article WOULD be

To install the MOD-123...

Hope this helps!

Ms. Ronni Geist
Director, Editorial Services
ronni -at- geistwriters -dot- com


> 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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