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It seems like a particular dance is called "Two-step". It gave me some doubts about how to spell step in the description of a method I use. If my method has two steps, should it be called a two step method or a two steps method?

marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, RyeɃreḁd, aedia λ, RegDwigнt Apr 19 '14 at 10:16

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  • It should be called a two-step method, IMO. – Kristina Lopez Apr 18 '14 at 16:44
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    For two reasons, 'two-step' is the correct option. First, the word 'step' is here being used metaphorically – one might even say as a unit. Units rarely pluralise as premodifiers (a three-ton elephant / a six-mile hike). Second, attributive nouns are rarely used in plural form in any case (a sweet shop (not sweets shop) / a log cabin / an animal shelter). – Edwin Ashworth Apr 18 '14 at 16:49
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    In most cases, nouns modifying nouns should be singular. For instance, it's Shoe Store, with singular Shoe, even though people normally don't buy only one shoe there. – John Lawler Apr 18 '14 at 18:00
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Edwin Ashworth has already described the correctness better than I.

For two reasons, 'two-step' is the correct option. First, the word 'step' is here being used metaphorically – one might even say as a unit. Units rarely pluralise as premodifiers (a three-ton elephant / a six-mile hike). Second, attributive nouns are rarely used in plural form in any case (a sweet shop (not sweets shop) / a log cabin / an animal shelter).

But I wanted to add, it's not uncommon for methods or things to be called the "X Two-Step". So if your method is for squeezing a fruit to extract juice, you could call it the "Juice Two-Step". This is essentially a marketing technique playing peoples' familiarity with the dance moves.

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    As an aside, please don't accept this answer; Edwin deserves the credit, I just couldn't fit what I wanted to say into a comment. – Patrick M Apr 18 '14 at 20:20

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