.. not for everyone, including ...

JulianStuart

Senior Member
English (UK then US)
... Lipitor is not for everyone, including those with liver disease or possible liver problems, women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant....
I hear this construction quite often these days, primarily because of the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) and their requirement that any advertising that describes the benefits of a prescription drug must also describe risks and side-effects (in fact, the FDA must approve such wording before the ad can be disseminated). About 50% of the 1600 G**gle.com hits are for drugs - for the same reason, but the other 50% are simply other uses. There were only 33 hits on G**gle.uk. It is therefore specifically a AmE thing.Some drug companies have literate proofreaders/editors and re-word such copy e.g. Some people should not take drug X, including those with... Unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate grammar :(

I'm curious as to how it arose, because "everyone" obviously "includes" anyone listed thereafter. To make sense, all that is needed would be to replace "everyone" with "some people", but that's not happened. This seems to be a similar situation to the commonly heard "I could care less" when what is meant is "I could not care less", in that the meaning of the sentence is not understood by the speaker. So how does this happen?
 
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  • jonjonsin

    Member
    English - American
    I fail to see what's incorrect about it. At first, I thought it may be due to fact that "for everyone" is negated by "not", but removing "not" still makes sense.

    "Lipitor is for everyone, including those with..." If Lipitor were for everyone, the including just reminds the audience who it is specifically for. In the actual wording, it tells the audience specifically for whom Lipitor would be a bad idea.

    I guess it's just that I see 'not for everyone' meaning essentially 'not for some'.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    jonjonsin,
    I guess it's just that I see 'not for everyone' meaning essentially 'not for some'.
    That is the question - why is it that you see "some=everyone"??? - you are clearly not the only one, but "Some people went fishing" is so different from "Everyone went fishing", yet the meaning of the thread title is still understood. That's what I don't understand :)

    Lipitor is not for everyone. There are some people who should not take it, including those with liver disease or possible liver problems... The words in red seem to be assumed by enough people that the construct is catching on.
     

    jonjonsin

    Member
    English - American
    jonjonsin,


    That is the question - why is it that you see "some=everyone"??? - you are clearly not the only one, but "Some people went fishing" is so different from "Everyone went fishing", yet the meaning of the thread title is still understood. That's what I don't understand :)
    But it the statement isn't constructed that way.

    "This is for everyone." Who is it for? Everyone.
    "This is not for everyone." Who is it for? Not everyone. So, not everyone must mean at least some.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I see the problem. As you point out, "not for everyone" essentially refers to the [some] people it is for, but "including, ... etc" describes the people it is not for.

    A more coherent version might be: It's not for everyone; it's not for .... / the people who shouldn't take it include ....

    The construction has always been a bump in my reading, but people seem to understand the intended meaning well enough.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I see the problem. As you point out, "not for everyone" essentially refers to the [some] people it is for, but "including, ... etc" describes the people it is not for.

    A more coherent version might be: It's not for everyone; it's not for .... / the people who shouldn't take it include ....

    The construction has always been a bump in my reading, but people seem to understand the intended meaning well enough.
    The part of your post I turned red is the wording heard in some drug commercials.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree that the wording “ not for everyone, including” is alarmingly ambiguous; it can be taken to mean either of two opposites. For this to be acceptable on a pharmaceutical product is horrifying.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It sounds as if someone did not like the (formerly) usual "... is contraindicated for some patients, including ..." and put a little "spin" on it. I think it caught on as a marketing ploy, to assault our grammar sense and force us to remember their product.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It sounds as if someone did not like the (formerly) usual "... is contraindicated for some patients, including ..." and put a little "spin" on it. I think it caught on as a marketing ploy, to assault our grammar sense and force us to remember their product.
    But the market size defined by those who would even notice their grammar being assaulted would surely be too small :D?
     
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