Could you tell me how to abbreviate few-word phrases as in the use of "mobile" for "the mobile business" in the sentence

"Company A's lagging position in mobile is the most pressing challenge?"

When I come across such an abbreviation, I wonder why it should be "mobile," but not "mobiles" nor "the mobile" (shorthand for the mobile business).

I would like to know the rationale behind this particular type of abbreviation.

  • Abbreviations like that rarely follow rationales. They tend to be spurious and somewhat random. ‘Mobile’ in your example actually seems quite strange and unnatural to me—I would have used ‘the mobile market’ if I were writing the phrase myself. Sep 3, 2013 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


It is common in business to refer to a field or sector by the adjective that describes that category of enterprise, such as Kodak suffered when it continued to focus on chemical and ignored digital until it was too late.

In these cases, the adjective is used as a noun and a term such as field, sector or area is understood.

Even the term mobiles is really just a plural version of the adjective mobile that has been transformed to a noun to represent mobile telephone.

  • Thank you so much! How about "electronics?" As far as I know, it is always used in the plural when used as a noun. In the case of your example sentence, it it also possible to use "focus on chemicalS?"
    – user48754
    Sep 4, 2013 at 4:56
  • Yes. While adjectives can be used in place of nouns, nouns can also be used as adjectives. Kodak focuses on the chemicals sector.
    – bib
    Sep 4, 2013 at 11:48

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