4

Here we have the plural in the end:

"communication technology services"

Here we have two plurals(quite common in google):

"communications technology services"

Eventually, we could have three plurals =)

"communications technologies services"

When should we use more than one plural to describe this?

  • we may also have 'communication technologies service' – JonMark Perry Feb 13 '15 at 13:22
  • As a rule of thumb, 'when 70+% of the articles on Google do'. "Communication technology services" and "Communications technology services" seem the front runners (and in that order). None is incorrect; if you want to stress the plurality of any aspect, you're free to do so. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 13 '15 at 13:57
  • They are all all right. Each has its own meaning, and is to be used according to context. Generally though, it is "communications technology services" with good reason. – Kris Feb 13 '15 at 14:06
  • And in this context, isn't 'communications' a subject [like Maths, Physics or Economics] rather than a plural? – David Garner Feb 13 '15 at 15:18
6

As a general rule (and not just in English), when a word or phrase is used as a close modifier in a complex noun phrase, it is stripped of its grammatical endings. (In German, for example the whole phrase is usually written as a single word, and only the last takes any grammatical endings). The way this appears in English is that usually a noun used to modify a noun stays in the singular, so

communication technology services

would be the 'unmarked' or basic form.

However there are plenty of examples of using plural modifiers, to particular emphasis. So technologies services would be emphasising that the service related to several different technologies, and furthermore indicating that by technology we mean something that may be pluralised: a technology in the sense of a particular collection of approaches and methods. Technology services would not be specific about whether it had this meaning or not, but I think would tend to imply that we are using technology in a more general, (uncountable) sense of "current equipment and how to use it" or something like that.

Communications is a bit harder, because that (in the plural form) is often used as the name of a field, like physics, and when used in that way, is usually singular. I think communications techology is much more likely than communication technology.

  • "Communications technology services" is a compound noun whose first noun is itself compound. The structure is [ [communications technology] services ], where I've put brackets around the two compounds. Stress tells the tale -- it is, or at least can be, 1 2 3. There are no modifiers in the grammatical sense. – Greg Lee Feb 13 '15 at 16:41
  • I accept that my terminology was a bit off - I couldn't think of what you call the first element in a ordinary headed compound noun. I don't think that affects my answer otherwise. – Colin Fine Feb 13 '15 at 17:07
0

Considering that "communication" is a noncount noun, it is unnecessary to add a plural "s" ending in any situation. That does not mean the "s" won't be added, as we know language is always changing.

"Technology" is also a noncount noun.

"Communication Technology Services" makes the most grammatical sense.

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