(the/-) PDF format.

atakeris

Senior Member
Latvian
Hello,

Case: (the/-) PDF format.

My questions comes from this thread in which I was told that I shouldn't put the definite article in this case "you can save images in (the/-) PDF, PNG, JPEG formats."

So I guess in this case it's the same. Can someone explain me the logic? I mean, I though that by saying PDF I'm specifying the noun "format" and as a result can put the definite article. Because there's only one and single PDF format.

Thanks!

<< Moderator's note: See also this parallel discussion:
save images in (the/-) PDF, PNG and JPEG formats >>
 
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  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "The PDF format can be a great substitute..." :tick:
    "Save the file in PDF format." :tick:

    Different contexts require different guidance on the use of "the"/"a"/"ø" <noun>.
     

    atakeris

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    "The PDF format can be a great substitute..." :tick:
    "Save the file in PDF format." :tick:

    Different contexts require different guidance on the use of "the"/"a"/"ø" <noun>.

    PaulQ, very great! You just wrote exactly what I don't understand. What's the difference between "PDF format" in these two contexts?
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As I explained in another post, the is a demonstrative adjective that is related to the demonstrative adjective that, and we should consider if we need to use a demonstrative adjective or not. The guide as to which sounds most natural is the context, and your examples give none.

    I also said that the ≈ which we know

    In the first, we can say "That PDF format can be a great substitute..." if the context is

    "Which format do you recommend as a substitute?" (i.e. suggesting that there are several formats.)
    "The/That PDF format can be a great substitute..." / "PDF format, which we know, can be a great substitute..."

    Now, moving on to the second example:

    Format is weakly countable. It is a word that can be uncountable or countable but is mainly countable. You will know that all countable, singular nouns require a, the, (or other determiner) in front of them and you know that uncountable words do not. (e.g. I gave him a/the/my/this/that knife - "I gave him sugar.") But you also know that adjectivally qualified, weakly uncountable nouns may (or may not) have a, the, (or other determiner) before them: "I gave him a/the different sugar." -> "I gave him different sugar."

    And so we must consider "format" in the sentence "Save the file in PDF format."... if we consider that it is uncountable, then it cannot have a and does not need the.

    "Which format do you recommend I save it as?" (i.e. suggesting that there are several formats.)
    "Save the file in PDF format."
     

    atakeris

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    As I explained in another post, the is a demonstrative adjective that is related to the demonstrative adjective that, and we should consider if we need to use a demonstrative adjective or not. The guide as to which sounds most natural is the context, and your examples give none.

    I also said that the ≈ which we know

    In the first, we can say "That PDF format can be a great substitute..." if the context is

    "Which format do you recommend as a substitute?" (i.e. suggesting that there are several formats.)
    "The/That PDF format can be a great substitute..." / "PDF format, which we know, can be a great substitute..."

    Now, moving on to the second example:

    Format is weakly countable. It is a word that can be uncountable or countable but is mainly countable. You will know that all countable, singular nouns require a, the, (or other determiner) in front of them and you know that uncountable words do not. (e.g. I gave him a/the/my/this/that knife - "I gave him sugar.") But you also know that adjectivally qualified, weakly uncountable nouns may (or may not) have a, the, (or other determiner) before them: "I gave him a/the different sugar." -> "I gave him different sugar."

    And so we must consider "format" in the sentence "Save the file in PDF format."... if we consider that it is uncountable, then it cannot have a and does not need the.

    "Which format do you recommend I save it as?" (i.e. suggesting that there are several formats.)
    "Save the file in PDF format."

    Thanks very much! Though, the second part of your post didn't answer my question completely. Why I can't use the definite article in there "Save the file in PDF format" if I can use it in "The/That PDF format can be a great substitute...". After all, I can say "Save the file in PDF format, which we know".

    So my question is where is the difference in meaning? I guess, for you it might sound obvious, but in my language there are no articles.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Thanks very much! Though, the second part of your post didn't answer my question completely. Why I can't use the definite article in there "Save the file in PDF format" if I can use it in "The/That PDF format can be a great substitute...". After all, I can say "Save the file in PDF format, which we know".
    I knew that would cause trouble...You can say, "Save the file in the PDF format." but you do not say it unless the context of the preceding statement/question demands it.

    A: Should I save this document in Word format or PDF format? NB A is asking about two formats - they expect a specific answer, and so you specify:
    B: "Save the file in the PDF format." -> "Save the file in the PDF format." i.e. the one we have spoken of, the one that we know, the one we are acquainted with; the one you mentioned.

    I must emphasis that "Save the file in the PDF format." sounds more formal and more emphatic and is usually used only in the way I explained.

    However, as I said, if you do not give context then we can only respond to what we think you mean.
    in my language there are no articles.
    I know, I will arrange for a shipment of definite and indefinite articles from London to Riga, we have too many.
     

    atakeris

    Senior Member
    Latvian
    I knew that would cause trouble...You can say, "Save the file in the PDF format." but you do not say it unless the context of the preceding statement/question demands it.

    A: Should I save this document in Word format or PDF format? NB A is asking about two formats - they expect a specific answer, and so you specify:
    B: "Save the file in the PDF format." -> "Save the file in the PDF format." i.e. the one we have spoken of, the one that we know, the one we are acquainted with; the one you mentioned.

    I must emphasis that "Save the file in the PDF format." sounds more formal and more emphatic and is usually used only in the way I explained.

    However, as I said, if you do not give context then we can only respond to what we think you mean.I know, I will arrange for a shipment of definite and indefinite articles from London to Riga, we have too many.

    B: "Save the file in the PDF format." -> "Save the file in the PDF format." i.e. the one we have spoken of, the one that we know, the one we are acquainted with; the one you mentioned.

    But in the sentence below we us the definite article, although we haven't spoken about PDF before, we haven't been acquainted with before, as we agreed.

    "The PDF format can be a great substitute..." :tick:

    So why did you put the definite article here?

    I just can't understand why in some cases you need a noun to be mentioned before, or you should be acquainted with it before that you could use the definite article and in other cases you just don't need.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    B: "Save the file in the PDF format." -> "Save the file in the PDF format." i.e. the one we have spoken of, the one that we know, the one we are acquainted with; the one you mentioned.

    But in the sentence below we us the definite article, although we haven't spoken about PDF before, we haven't been acquainted with before, as we agreed.
    Yes we have, everyone knows what a PDF file is.

    "The PDF format can be a great substitute..." :tick:

    So why did you put the definite article here?
    Simple - it means This/that/the (specific) format of PDF can be ..." We are specifying a format.
    I just can't understand why in some cases you need a noun to be mentioned before, or you should be acquainted with it before that you could use the definite article and in other cases you just don't need.
    Yes, it is complex isn't it?

    Have a look at these two sites for help with articles:
    http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/english-as-a-second-language/articles University of Toronto - Using Articles
    http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/english-as-a-second-language/definite-article University of Toronto - Using Articles Special cases.
     

    dasubergeek

    Senior Member
    English - US; French - CH
    "The PDF format" emphasizes the format (perhaps you're going to contrast it to, say, the TIFF format). "The PDF format is widely accepted, but it has certain issues of fidelity."

    In this particular case you can leave off the article without damaging the sentence.
     

    tsoapm

    Senior Member
    🇬🇧 English (England)
    everyone knows what a PDF file is.
    Something that less people seem to have noticed is that PDF format is a great example of RAS syndrome: expand it out and you get “Portable Document Format format”. :)

    My actual question, which I hope isn’t off-topic, is this: are there any widely accepted style guidelines over the use of file format acronyms?

    download the PDF
    download the pdf
    download the .pdf

    Version one is clearly the more conventional, but version two seems to be very popular. Version three is a kind of halfway house which explicitly references the fact that it’s a file extension; I gather that version two appeals because that’s the form in which you actually see it after files, generally – three even more so.

    The style guide that I generally go to, Hart’s New Rules, seems to be silent on the matter. I suppose in the absence of an explicit exception, the rule would be to use upper case, but I tend to think it looks a little fussy.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    For what it's worth, I always use capitalized extensions in text: Download the PDF, DOC, JPG, XLS, PPT, etc.

    My thought is the lowercased extensions/formats get lost in regular text. I would not use the period/full stop with a lowercased extension
    . Now that's fussy. :)

    Personal opinion on why you see lowercased extensions: people are too lazy to use the Shift key.
     
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