I saw an ad made by Mandarine-speaking people, and it writes:

Welcome to join cooperative acting distributor.

The sentence was supposed to mean "Looking for representatives (of our products)".

Certainly there is a problem with how the word "welcome" is used in that sentence, but here I just want to pin down the issue on this paired noun: "acting distributor".

Do native speakers of English say "acting distributor" when referring to representatives for a specific brand? Is it normal to say "acting distributor"? Is it even native English or is it often in use? I only hear "representatives" or "distributors" a lot but rarely come across with "acting distributors".

Could anyone confirm this?

  • @JamesK Oops, my bad. I should've thought of that. I'll correct it. Thanks.
    – Dean
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:18
  • Cross-posted on EL&U Jul 21, 2022 at 17:21
  • @WeatherVane Should I delete one of the posts?
    – Dean
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:24
  • 1
    @WeatherVane Thank you very much. Apologies for the duplicate.
    – Dean
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:26
  • 2
    Among translators, we call this Chinglish. The entire sentence is simply off and needs to be rewritten: You are welcome to join our cooperative to act as our distributor. Maybe that is what they meant. No, there is no such thing as acting distributor unless the distributor has left or died and someone is replacing him temporarily.
    – Lambie
    Jul 21, 2022 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


No. (I can only answer definitely for British English, but I think this applies in AmE too).

Acting as an attributive adjective means "somebody who does not formally hold a position, but is authorised to carry out the function of that position".

So an acting distributor would mean somebody who was not a distributor but had for some reason been appointed to do what a distributor does.

  • 4
    This is largely true in American English too.
    – stangdon
    Jul 21, 2022 at 17:04

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