An Odd Preposition

I noticed this on a bottle of Listerine recently:

“Do not use in children under 12 years of age.”

Do you use Listerine in your children? What about in the other adults in your household? I imagine the writer pondered the correct preposition to employ, and finally settled on ‘in’. Personally, I don’t use Listerine in anything other than my own mouth.

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10 thoughts on “An Odd Preposition

  1. I think the writer is correct by using “in”. Listerine is not made to be a topical product so it should not be used on a child. They writer should have added that listerine should not be used too far into the child as that could lead to alcoholism.

  2. You’re right, Jim. The problem with the warning is not ‘in’, but ‘use’. No preposition really works there. It is the child who should not use the product, not the implied reader of the warning.

  3. Or is it one of those Luke Skywalker things, where he cut his beast open and climbed in to survive the night? In this case, I have to agree, this product should not be used in children under 12.

  4. (and then I went slightly off topic…) What I find amusing/confusing/concerning about this type of warning label, the garden-variety over-the-counter medicinal product warning label, is that age is considered the important factor in the first place. Tylenol has the same warning label. So are we to conclude that it’s not safe for a 115 lb 11 year old boy to take Tylenol, but perfectly safe for a 95 lb 20 year old woman to take Tylenol?

    I’m so glad we pay people to study these things.

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