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At first, let's take 2 example expressions: "Books list" and "Book list". As far as I know, the first one is incorrect and I should use the second one - "Book list". And it means "List of books".

But now let's replace "Book(s)" with something more complex. Let's assume that we want to have not "just" list of books, but list of books that belong to particular user. So, we are about to replace "Books" with "User's books". So now we should have "User's book list", which is ambiguous - is it list of user's book, or list of user's books? So we can change it to "User's books list", which is incorrect according to my previous paragraph...

Where am I wrong?

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Let's assume that we want to have not "just" list of books, but list of books that belong to particular user. So now we should have "User's book list", which is ambiguous - is it list of user's book, or list of user's books?

They don't mean the same thing.

  1. User's book list means that the book list belongs to the user.
  2. List of user's books means that there's a list in which are listed the user's books.
  3. List of user's book means that there's a list in which is listed the user's only book (and it's strange).

Note: The list may belong to the user (or not) in the three statements, but the first one says it clearly.

  • So, I should use "User's books list"? Is it correct? And if so, what about "Books list" and "Book list"? – m4tx Jun 20 '14 at 15:13
  • It directly means that the list belongs to the user. As for book(s) list, we say book list. – Archa Jun 20 '14 at 15:25
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    You should not use "user's books list". It sounds ungrammatical, and I would have only a vague idea of how a "user's books list" differs from a "user's book list". I would guess that by the first, you mean a list of the user's books, and by the second, you mean a book list belonging to the user. – Peter Shor Jun 20 '14 at 21:19
  • I didn't see the mistake m4tx made, but I meant user's book list. – Archa Jun 20 '14 at 21:43

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