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English is not my mother tongue, and I am wondering how to best phrase define analysis using two nouns. It could be define analyses, too: it doesn’t matter whether it’s plural or singular.

To me, analyses definition sounds odd. However, analyses specification sounds not right. Can anyone come up with a better phrase?

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Why do you need to do this in two nouns? It seems a rather arbitrary request, and a better idea of what you are attempting overall, might improve your question and help people to answer. "Analyses definition" seems okay headline English and "Definition of analyses" good English, but I really don't know how to pick the better for your needs or what context the grammar will work in (in headlines and titles we have looser grammatical rules). –  Jon Hanna Feb 16 '13 at 12:11
    
The complete sentence, preferably, along with more context will help us help you. What exactly is the meaning you are trying to convey here? –  Kris Feb 16 '13 at 12:20
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Just to make sure: it really is the definition that is the important thing here, right? That is, you want definition to be the head noun. We’re not talking about an analysis of definitions, but rather a definition of the analysis. Is that right? –  tchrist Feb 16 '13 at 14:34
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Hi tchrist, yes that is write. It is the definition of the/an analysis and NOT an analysis of definitions. –  matthias Feb 16 '13 at 14:38
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@matthias The term for the structural effect you are aiming at - all your titles having the same syntactic form - is parallelism, and you are to be applauded for seeking it. –  StoneyB Feb 16 '13 at 16:06
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1 Answer

up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Analysis Definition" would work. (Only use plurals in headline style if they're absolutely necessary. Only use plurals in definitions, if they're absolute necessary).

It is indeed strange, but then so is "Parameter Selection". The strangeness is due to the headline style.

You could use "Definition of Analysis", and in running text would probably use "definition of analysis". If you mean definition in the sense of defining the word, you should use "definition of analysis" with italics to show that you are mentioning the word analysis rather than using it.

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thank you all very much for your comments. I think I will go for "Analysis Definition". Even if it sounds a bit odd I think it is ok to be used in a graphic. I am sorry but I cannot display the figure here to provide you with more information of how I am using these phrases. I think in the figure, "Analysis Definition" and "Parameter Selection" look better compared to "Definition of Analysis" or "Selection of Parameters". And if these phrases are grammatically correct it should be ok :) –  matthias Feb 16 '13 at 14:54
    
Headline English is a balance. It deliberately leaves things out, leans towards noun adjuncts where an adjective or use of of would be more natural, and otherwise produces harder to parse phrases for the sake of brevity. Sometimes even if an elision is defensible, it's still better to go the other way for the sake of clarity, but it's a matter of judgement rather than hard and fast rules. –  Jon Hanna Feb 16 '13 at 15:06
    
Hey Hanna, yeah I think you put that into the right words :) It seems people often choose style over grammar especially in graphics and tables. –  matthias Feb 16 '13 at 15:17
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