A company of biscuit manufacturers

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77Cat77

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, dear friends.
In reading the following sentences, I’m confused by some words and referential relationships.
During a radio programme, a company of biscuit manufacturers once asked listeners to bake biscuits and send them to their factory. They offered to pay $10 a pound for the biggest biscuit baked by a listener. The response to this competition was tremendous. Before long, biscuits of all shapes and sizes began arriving at the factory.
— Lesson 26, Vol.3, NewConcept English

Question 1:Isn’t a manufacturer a kind of company or a sort of factory? So what does “a company of manufacturers” mean?
Question 2: The pronoun “they” underlined refers to manufacturers, as far as I see. But why does the author writes the factory but not the factories?
Many thanks!
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    1) Yes, that doesn't make much sense.
    2) Whether the mistake is there or not, "they" refers to "a company." In many contexts, we refer to an organization as a group of people. It was people working at the company who asked, not the legal entity or the building.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    My reaction is different. It seems reasonable to me.

    It's a company employing people who manufacture biscuits. It's a company of biscuit makers.

    Those people as a group asked listeners to send biscuits to "their factory", the one owned by their company. The company only owns one factory.
     

    77Cat77

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    My reaction is different. It seems reasonable to me.

    It's a company employing people who manufacture biscuits. It's a company of biscuit makers.

    Those people as a group asked listeners to send biscuits to "their factory", the one owned by their company. The company only owns one factory.
    Oh! You see manufacturers as makers! An interesting perspective that really makes sense!
     
    Last edited:

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It is a factory, but it is usually called a "commercial bakery". Despite that name it is usually described as a business that manufactures baked goods, which really sounds like a factory to me.

    I will see if I can find a definition for "commercial bakery".

    Addendum: I found a "legal" definition belowl

    Commercial bakery | legal definition of Commercial bakery by Law Insider

    Commercial bakery means any bakery predominantly engaged in the preparation, processing or manufacture of bakery products for further distribution. All other bakeries shall be deemed retail bakeries.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't think I've ever heard of a single person being called a manufacturer unless that person was the head of a manufacturing company and in that case he didn't do any baking.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Is this "NewConcept English" book a Chinese publication written by Chinese teachers of English?

    If a company manufactures biscuits we call them a biscuit manufacturer, or perhaps a biscuit manufacturing company, maybe even a biscuit company, but not a company of biscuit manufacturers, which would sound like a collective term (like a flock of sheep). In the OP they are not talking about several manufacturers. It was only one company, and it was their business to manufacture biscuits.

    I also find "manufacturing" a slightly odd term in this context. Biscuits are baked, or made, or produced, I'm not so sure I'd say they're manufactured. We manufacture mechanical stuff, like cars, washing machines, and cash registers, maybe even components like nuts, bolts, and split rings. We don't manufacture chicken thighs or books.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Is this "NewConcept English" book a Chinese publication written by Chinese teachers of English?
    From Wiki:
    's New Concept English by L. G. Alexander is a popular English language textbook teaching the British rules of English. The course was first published on October 30, 1967.[1] A revised edition, which was "specifically prepared for Chinese learners",[2] came out in 1997.
    It's from Longman. Need I say more?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Is this "NewConcept English" book a Chinese publication written by Chinese teachers of English?
    Here is the Google books version: New Concept English DEVELOPING SKILLS, An Integrated Course For Intermediate Student

    Written by L.G. Alexander and published in 1976. It does not list the country of origin, but the spelling of "programme" suggests that is is not American English.

    Crossed posts with SDGraham. I didn't see the "revised edition" not on the Google books copy.
     

    77Cat77

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Manufacturer
    Sense 2: a person, group, or company that manufactures.
    Manufacture v.
    Sense 1: to make or produce by hand or machinery, esp. on a large scale:
    Wordreference.com
    Is this "NewConcept English" book a Chinese publication written by Chinese teachers of English?
    By L. G. Alexander
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hmmm. The extract reads to me like it's made the wording more explicit to make the reading level easier.

    Hence the redundancy of "a company of biscuit manufacturers."

    Publishing date of 1967 isn't going to be actually archaic English but it's going to sound different from how we speak almost 50 years later. It's also going to have quaint anachronisms like the idea that a "biscuit" factory might actually sponsor a contest like this. That sounds like something from 1952. Also, biscuit in Britain is cookie in the USA. Biscuit in the USA is different. Homemade American biscuits don't get manufactured in factories (they are related to tea biscuits or scones), and no one makes cracker type biscuits at home. Yet the prize is in dollars so American? Or just a bland piece of textbook writing about something that never happened?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In reading the following sentences, I’m confused by some words and referential relationships.
    I think that the L.G. Alexander's very good point is that you won't get very far in reading about businesses in English without encountering writers who muddle companies and people (and consortia) in just these kinds of way. After all, capitalism might collapse if we didn't think of some firms as our friends!
     
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