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Date of manufacture

Is there any significance to leaving out the article when referring to the date of manufacture of a product (in situations where a definite article would be natural)? Does doing so somehow more accurately and unambiguously refer to the the labelled 'date of manufacture'?


  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited May 2018

    Date of is generally followed by a bare noun: date of birth, date of expiry, date of issue etc. All these phrases contain a unexpressed sense of POSSESSIVE — my date of birth, its date of expiry, my passport's date of issue etc.

    It's very unusual to mark DEFINITENESS. I'd only say date of the birth in a context where mention has already been made of a baby being born. Similarly, I could just about say It left the factory some time in June. I can't tell you the precise date of the manufacture.

    Notice that it's only in written forms, labels and documentation in general that we can use the bare phrase date of manufature. In speech and prose it would be the date of manufacture. Another reason for not choosing not to say the date of the manufacture.

    This construction is common to many expressions of time: a day of mourning, a week of celebration, a moment of contemplation, a year of civil war, two hours of boredom etc. Plus the word time itself a time of sorrow etc and as written information time of arrival, time of departure.

  • @DavidCrosbie. Sorry, I wasn't being clear. I meant leaving out the article before the expression 'date of manufacture' in contexts like '5 months from date of manufacture'. I see it used with the article as well, but I was just wondering if there is any difference in meaning.

    Linguistically, it seems more natural to write '5 months from the date of manufacture'. Unless, of course, one was trying to write as briefly as possible. I was just wondering if leaving out the article has some meaning, like referring more unambiguously and undisputably to 'date of manufacture' as it appears on the product. Or is it simply a matter of style and preference?

  • Personally, I would use the date... in prose. So I would write five months from the date of manufacture. And I would certainly use the date... in a spoken sentence. That's what I meant by my third paragraph ion my reply.

    That said, I'm no expert in the sort of technical wring that seems to be your interest. It may be that the writers of technical instruction manuals choose to use the same wording for tables, diagrams and continuous text. This could be one explanation for the examples you've seen of e.g. from date of manufacture. It's also possible that they weren't written by native speakers.

    All in all, it's safer to write five months from the date of manufacture, since it's acceptable in any style of writing.

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