The term "capstone project" is common. Google tells me there's also something called "Capstone Classroom."

The dictionary -- whatever dictionary you might look in -- says "capstone" is only ever a noun, so I guess these are compound nouns.

All this said, what should I conclude about the sentence

This is the capstone failure of my life.

Anything wrong with that? Can I use "capstone" as an adjective with any noun?

  • 1
    Noun as adjective: englishleap.com/grammar/noun-as-adjective
    – user66974
    Jun 12, 2015 at 5:28
  • I tend to think of "capstone" as a positive thing... I don't think I would use it to modify a negative idea.
    – Catija
    Jun 12, 2015 at 6:25
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    @Catija - ...unless we were aiming for some deliberately ironic language.
    – J.R.
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


Any noun can be used as an adjective — consider fence post, door hinge — although some are more common than others. Capstone would be unusual; a more regular adjective might be supreme or crowning.

Using a slightly unusual turn of phrase is a good way of drawing attention to it. Celebrating a failure with a word like capstone strikes me as being a rather esoteric use of language.

  • 1
    I'd add that it's often better to avoid the noun if there is a reasonably well-known related adjective. There's no such adjective for capstone though, so I wouldn't hesitate to use it adjectivally for something which similarly was necessary for the success of other elements. I agree that it seems strange with failure though, arguably logical but one has to think too much about why its logical before seeing the logic for it to work smoothly, unless perhaps we've just had a character musing on the failure of a physical capstone or something to back up the metaphor.
    – Jon Hanna
    Jun 12, 2015 at 10:14

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