Just noticed my coffee mug lid has text saying "See important warning on bottom of mug". Why it's not "bottom of the mug"? It is very specific mug this lid connected to, this is why I expect it to be "the mug". From other side if it is any other mug the lid fits it should be "a mug", shouldn't it?

How in this case I understand "the" or "a" is not needed?

  • 4
    Signs and labels often don't use strictly correct grammar, but instead use a lot of abbreviated phrasing, kind of like headlinese. I wish I had a better reference for it, but I don't. – stangdon Jul 15 '16 at 21:24
  • @stangdon nails it. Note that there's no article with warning or bottom either. – StoneyB on hiatus Jul 15 '16 at 21:44

This is an example of Headlinese "an abbreviated writing style used in newspaper headlines". Although this clearly isn't a headline, the types of abbreviations are similar, in particular articles are often omitted in headlinese. It is common when there is little space, or the writer wants to keep her text short as this will make a greater impact on the reader.


Actually it should be, "...on the bottom of the mug." My guess is the double occurrence of 'the' was removed to save space. The phrase can be understood as referring to 'the' mug on which it's printed.

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