Alternative designs that are potential safer for customers must be explored even if they come with greater costs.

In this case, the product is still in its designing stage and no one has bought it yet. You don't know the specific people who bought the product. So do I just say customers or THE customers?

Companies must foresee, by rigorous tests or some other mean, potential misuses of the product by the customers and avoid these problems with better designs.

Here the designers of the product is envisioning when a customer has bought a product and is using it. So I wrote THE customers.

Am I right? Can any native English speaker confirm this?

  • Why do you want to use "the" with a plural noun? There should at least be some grouping, but you haven't said that.
    – user3169
    Oct 14, 2018 at 7:12

1 Answer 1


This is a somewhat interesting case in which the definite article is optional, but the meaning does not really change. I would prefer to omit "the" in both cases, but they are not exactly wrong.

When you do use the definite article, you are implying that you are referring to some subset of customers, even if you mean the customers for your product. Surely you aren't referring to all customers of any product by any manufacturer since the beginning of the industrial revolution, so specifying "the customers" is reasonable.

However, it is already clear in the context of your sentence that only customers to your specific product are relevant, so we can leave out the article and allow "customers" to refer indefinitely to all customers of your product.

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