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I found this sentence in a practice test:

ABC company is famous for its quality product and customer satisfaction.

Supposedly, there's an error in the sentence somewhere. Do you think I should change quality product to product quality? I feel confused because I've seen both of those expressions on the internet, so I don't know why that would make the sentence wrong.

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Depending on what you want to say, it should be either quality products or product quality. –  Damkerng T. Feb 17 at 12:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can omit the word product altogether, if you want. Readers will know what you mean.

Harley-Davidson is known for its quality and customer satisfaction.

However, if you want to include product (or use the actual name of the product), I think it sounds most natural if product is pluralized after the word quality, but remains singular before the word quality. For example:

Harley-Davidson is known for its quality motorcycles and customer satisfaction.
Harley-Davidson is known for its motorcycle quality and customer satisfaction.

You may have seen the construct qaulity product if the product in question functions as a mass noun:

ABC Corporation is known for its quality gravel.
That headstone company is known for its quality granite.
That dairy is known for its quality milk.

You can also use the singular when the one product being referenced is meant to be an archetype for everything that comes off the company's assembly line:

BMW is known for building a quality car.

That sentence doesn't mean BMW built one quality car sometime long ago, and became famous for it. It means that the cars BMW builds have high quality. We can also say:

BMW builds quality cars.
BMW builds a quality car.

Both sentences express the same idea, in two different ways.

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First, I think I could get that test question wrong despite the fact that I'm pretty sure I have the grammar of it. It's not wholly obvious to me what is expected by the person who set it.

"ABC is famous for its quality product"

This means that ABC has a quality product, and is famous for that. This is grammatically correct, but as others have said it might be that a different meaning, "quality products", was intended. If ABC only makes one product, then it's fine. It's also fine if "product" is being used here as a mass noun. For example if ABC manufactures high-grade cocaine and heroin then we might say it's famous for its quality product.

"ABC is famous for its product quality"

This means that ABC is famous for "product quality", that is to say for the quality of its product(s).

This may indeed be the correction intended by the person who asked the question, since then "product quality" and "customer satisfaction" are compound nouns formed in the same way.

Usually the two sentences turn out to mean much the same thing, but in the former the "product" is the the noun for which ABC is famous, and in the latter "product quality" is. Or product-quality, if you choose to use a hyphen to make it clear that we have a compound noun!

Pedantically the second phrase could mean that ABC is famous for its low product-quality, although it would be deliberately obscure to say it that way. In the former phrase I don't think "its quality product" can ever mean a low-quality product. Except sarcastically of course. "Quality" used as an adjective is perhaps a little informal but means "high-quality".

Leaving aside the product, "ABC company" might be wrong. I don't know what kind of errors/corrections the test is looking for, but it's not what you'd normally write. If referring to a company named "ABC" you can say, "The ABC company" (and maybe get into a further pedantic argument if the "C" stands for "company" already). Generally you just say "ABC". If "ABC Company" is the name then you'd expect the C would be capitalized, but I guess people and corporations can spell their own names however they like :-)

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Thanks a lot for your help! It's very useful for me! Yes, it must be ABC Company, for this point I typed wrongly. :-) –  nkm Feb 17 at 15:17

Both are found and I won't pick the latter one as an incorrect. However, the proper place for an adjective is before noun. This is referred to as attributive position.

ABC company is famous for its quality (adj) product (noun)...

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So can you spot any other error point from this sentence ? It is from an error test and I can't find it. –  nkm Feb 17 at 11:59
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@nkm For such thing, change the title of the question. The way you asked confuses others. –  Maulik V Feb 17 at 12:00
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@Maulik V, what if you take both as nouns? –  Lucian Sava Feb 17 at 12:01
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@LucianSava if both are nouns, you can use them either way. –  Maulik V Feb 17 at 12:04
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@nkm - I echo what Maulik says in his comment. If a test tells you there is an error in a sentence, then ask the question by telling us it's a sentence from a test, and there is supposed to be an error in there somewhere. That information completely changes how someone would approach this question. I just closed one question for this same reason moments ago. Now, the importance of this been explained. Remember, the Stack Exchange is dedicated to quality questions. In the future, questions like this might get deleted, instead of closed or edited. –  J.R. Feb 17 at 12:08

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