Dear teachers,
Would you please tell me how to analyse these phrases?

a) a sell-by date
b) the / a (?) best-by date
c) the / an expiry date

Are "sell-by / best-by / expiry" kind of adjectives?
Many thanks,
1 2 3

a) a sell-by date I'm not familiar with this. I guess it would be a date marked on a product, after which the store should take it off the shelf and no longer sell it.

b) the / a (?) best-by date The date marked on a product to indicate when it will be past its best condition. eg on a milk carton,I suppose. It can still be sold.
c) the / an expiry date This is the date when something becomes invalid, no good. My passport has an expiry date, after which I need to get a new one.

Are "sell-by / best-by / expiry" kind of adjectives? Yes.

You can use 'a' or 'the', depending on whether you want to be specific or not.

Every product on the shelf had a best-by date.

The best-by date on this carton of milk is tomorrow.

Best wishes, Clive

Yes they are kind of adjectives.

"Sell-by date" comes from "They can sell the food by the date XX".
"Best-by date" comes from "The food will taste best by the date XX"
"Expiry" is originally a noun meaning "time limit"

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Yes; it's a kind of embedded imperative: a "sell (this) by" date. (On the product itself, it says something like "Sell by: 00/00/00".)

On packaged edible goods in British shops and supermarkets, you usually have 2 dates: the "sell by" and the "use by" or "best by" dates.

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And then ... ?
Hi Paco2004,

A quick question. " The food will taste best by the date 11/11/05". To me, this sentence makes an impression that the food will taste bad before and after 11/11/05. Instead shall we say, "The food will taste best until 11/11/05"?

Thanks in advance,
Hello Krish

I admire your linguistic sensibility. Yes you are quite right. I made "The food tastes best by X" to explain the meaning of "best by", but indeed it sounds weird. Because "something tastes best" is a stative event, the time-anchor word should be "till". "Event till X" means the event continues till X. It should be "The food tastes best till X"

I think the phrase "best by" was coined as an analogue of "sell by". Anyway I am sorry for making such a wrong sentence like "The food tastes best by X".

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