Article use in a tabular catalog, case 2 (more general)

cmyguo3o

Senior Member
Russian
I'd like to expand the example with a furniture catalog a bit to ask some more questions about article use. Consider the following variant, which may not be terribly consistent in style (full vs. shortened sentences) but aggregates many real-world examples that I deal with:

Part No. | Name | Description
000001 | FOO BAR | Wooden chair. Suitable for medium-intensity bar fights. Can also be mounted to (the) floor securely to prevent use as (a) weapon. Seat protected with (a) fabric cover. (The/A) decorative binding lends the chair an elegant look. Anti-skid pads attached.

The questions are:
1) To what extent can I omit articles here? My gut feeling is that it's OK to omit them where I put parentheses (and not OK where I didn't), but I'm not sure.
2) If I do use an article at the first position in the penultimate sentence, before "decorative binding", should it be definite or indefinite? On the one hand, the binding has not been introduced anywhere. On the other hand, it is a known part of a specific product, so it is kind of assumed.
3) What about the "fabric cover" part in the third sentence from the end? Here I feel that I cannot use "the". But, again, the cover is included in this specific product and therefore is sort of similar to (2).
 
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  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    I know this is really hard, but it's more a matter of 'feel' than rules.

    1. I feel only the 'the' in red below could easily be omitted. I've managed to remove the 'The/A' in the penultimate sentence by using a dash. Otherwise, if you omit the other articles you suggested in brackets, I would understand it, but it would 'feel' awkward.

    Part No. | Name | Description
    000001 | FOO BAR | Wooden chair. Suitable for medium intensity bar fights. Can also be mounted to (the) floor securely to prevent use as a weapon. Seat protected with a fabric cover – decorative binding lends the chair an elegant look. Anti-skid pads attached.

    2. If you use an article in the penultimate sentence it doesn't matter which one – as you say, it would be understood that the chair had a binding.

    3. 'a' sounds best and should be included, I think.

    As I say, these aren't really 'rules' of English, just what we are used to seeing/reading. Some clients (if you are writing this for clients) may have their own preferences. If you really had to save space, it would be understood without most articles, as I said.
     
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