8

We'll have a limited release the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig.

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/guinea

I saw this sentence on thefreedictionary and i'm stuck in interpreting it.

Is the verb have acting as causative verb and a limited as noun?

  • 18
    It means "the person who wrote this gibberish doesn't have a clue about English." (The accepted answer goes into more detail!) – alephzero Jul 19 at 13:24
  • This is called a beta version for a software product. – Weather Vane Jul 19 at 17:33
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    @alephzero That's a little harsh, it seems like just a typo where they left out a word. – Barmar Jul 19 at 22:45
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    @WeatherVane - So it's a beta version of TheFreeDictionary? – Hot Licks Jul 20 at 1:32
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    The word "of" is missing by a typing mistake and that's it. – Grzegorz Oledzki Jul 20 at 5:53
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The phrase "limited release the product" is such bad construction that the reader has to guess at the meaning.

It would work as "We'll have a limited release product" -- that is a little too concise, but is correct English, and would mean that the product is being released in a limited way. A similar sentence to this meaning would be "We are making a limited release of this product." and could also be "We are making a limited release of this product [at this time]".

As for "... and let this region serve as a guinea pig", this is incomplete unless the region being referred to is clear to the reader. One could interpret it to mean "the region in which you're reading this", but in this age of World Wide Web context, it is much more difficult than it used to be to restrict your readers to one region. Perhaps it was written before that was an issue.

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    A hyphen would go a long ways toward fixing the second example: "We'll have a limited-release product", meaning a product that will only be offered for a short period. "limited release product" would probably be understood as a release product (whatever that is) that is limited in some way. – chepner Jul 19 at 14:43
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    For the guinea pig part, I'd expect the region to be have been clarified in an earlier sentence not part of the example. For games, for example, it's pretty common to have a beta launch in a specific country, to gather some data/learnings to apply before launching the global release. – Llewellyn Jul 19 at 18:45
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    I don't see why this sentence is considered so catastrophic. One may assume of is intended between release and the. Such an inclusion makes the sentence both grammatical and sensible. – epl Jul 20 at 3:44
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    I, also, don't see why much guessing is required. Someone forget the word "of". That is all. A simple mistake. I wrote "forget" instead of "forgot" in this comment, and you understood it anyway. – user253751 Jul 20 at 12:39
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    This is a site about proper English usage. One can assume of is intended, but that's a guess, albeit a reasonable one. If we were reviewing a piece that someone had just written with an eye to correcting obvious errors, that would be one thing. But this was already out in this 'free dictionary' as an example of English usage. One would hope the obvious things had already been caught at editing, but they missed this one. I didn't call it a catastrophe, but guessing is required, and it is not too much to expect writers to vet the stuff they write for the public. – rcook Jul 20 at 13:07
46

The smallest change to something that makes sense is to insert "of" giving

We'll have a limited release of the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig.

In this case "limited" is an adjective applying to the noun "release". Presumably a particular region is specified by the context, and will be used as a test site.

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13

We'll have a limited release the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig.

This is an error.

Notice that examples such as this are usually discovered by computer search of thousands of documents and not checked by humans unless someone complains. The program used for the search has no real-world knowledge and so does not routinely make corrections or sift out errors.

Some online dictionaries make the above advice explicit.

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4

Although there is already an accepted answer, I will try to give what I think is a more complete account.

First of all, the sentence is definitely wrong as written. Although there are several ways to correct it, I agree with another answer that it is probably missing the word "of", and should be:

"We'll have a limited release of the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig."

(The following sentence in the original is helpful in interpreting it: "If it is received well, we can expand production and distribution to the rest of the county.")

In the original context, the sentence is being used to illustrate the idiom "guinea pig", referring to a small animal which is often used in scientific research: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_pig#In_scientific_research . Idiomatically, "guinea pig" here means a test subject, on whom research is being performed.

The sentence as a whole is in the jargon of product marketing or sales. A "release" is the event of making a new product available to customers. (This is also used in related contexts, like programmers releasing software.) A "limited release" means that a new product (or a new version of an existing product) is being made available only to some customers -- in this example, to people in a certain geographical area, but it could also mean only for a certain time period. From the next sentence, we can guess what kind of area. (A "county" is a United States geographic subdivision smaller than a state/province, but larger than a city. Although this could be another error, for "country"; that error is common.)

So, "to have a limited release" means the same thing here as "to release in a limited way". The verb "to have" is serving a generic purpose here, "to have [some event]", meaning to make some event happen. You could also say "to do a limited release" or "to hold a limited release" (the same way you might say "to hold a party".)

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1

Another choice would be to remove "the product"

We'll have a limited release and let this region serve as a guinea pig.

In this construction both what is being released and the region would have to be inferred from context.

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  • "the product" is there for a reason. Adding "of" makes the most sense. – user253751 Jul 20 at 12:38
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    @user253751: If this is part of a larger conversation (such as in a company's launch team) it would make sense for what is being released to be entirely understood from context. It would make much more sense in spoken conversation for such a shortcut construction to be used but I could easily see it creeping into less formal written communication - such as e-mail - as well. Particularly in a reply where "the product" was part of what is being replied to. – SoronelHaetir Jul 20 at 16:17
  • @user253751 while it's possible to take the simplistic approach of "what' there is right, so there must be something missing" you should perhaps consider that it's revising from one form to another that has caused the error: "We'll release the product" could have been rewritten to "We'll have a limited release the product and let this region serve as a guinea pig" (go from full release to partial release) and "the product" is a leftover part that should have been removed. Try dictating to someone with a "blah, no wait, change that to, no wait, take that out, now add in, no, put.." – Caius Jard Jul 21 at 7:43
  • You end up with sentences that contain errors because they have been chopped and changed so many times, and you cannot say from an erroneous construct what the original intent was. You can only point out to the author the error and have them correct it. Here we are helping the OP understand the manifold ways this sentence could be made to make sense; no one is certainly more correct than any other – Caius Jard Jul 21 at 7:44
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    @user253751 The words are there for a reason, but the reason could be that the writer forgot to delete them. The mere fact that they are there does not justify their presence. – barbecue Jul 21 at 20:40

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