The dictionary contains many words which start with "non", e.g. non-acceptance or nonacceptance (with a hyphen and without it). I tried to find out if I can build a new word by using the word "non" and a project's name (we can also generalize the project to any organizational group, but I'll use the term 'project' here), but didn't find enough useful information, therefore I'd like to ask you.

If I want to say that something does not belong to a project and the project is called "ABC", then is it correct to say:

This is a non-ABC thing.


Or maybe you have some better proposals how such things can be described in a shorter way than

This is a thing which does not belong to ABC.

I mean in this situation something what is not a part of the project ABC, i.e. is not contained in the project ABC.

Please note that the name of the project ABC is a noun and not an adjective. My main concern is that maybe the nouns have to be treated differently in order to build a "non-..." word.

2 Answers 2


The specialised creation of a non- word is appropriate. It can be useful to think in terms of Venn Diagrams, where there might or not be overlap between the items in question, but there is often a global circle that provides the outer boundary of all items.

So the project might be (say) the marketing of hybrid vehicles, and the marketing of petrol-only vehicles can usefully be called "non-hybrid", since they are unrelated only with respect to their not being hybrids.

Australia had a prime minister who famously described his election platform as containing core and non-core promises, and I expect everyone knew what he meant.

  • Thank you for the answer. Did you see the answer of Zabari about the usage of "it is a non-ABC related thing"? What do you think about it? Is it in your opinion better than "it is a non-ABC thing". Please note that the word "ABC" here is a noun and not an adjective. The words used by you in the examples are in this case used as adjectives ("non-hybrid", "non-core"), don't they? I know that they can also be nouns, but in this case they are in my opinion adjectives. This is my main concern, that the nouns maybe have to be treated in a different way in case of the "non-..." words.
    – krm
    Commented Dec 8, 2015 at 14:10

You could say "this is a non-ABC thing" but you might be better off saying, right after talking about "ABC", say "on an unrelated topic..." Or "on a topic unrelated to ABC" .

Edit: I thought about it a little, "a non-ABC related thing" might be the most natural sounding option.

  • Thank you for the answer. I am not sure if "related" will be the right term in my case. I mean in this situation something what is or is not a part of the project ABC, i.e. is contained or not in the project ABC. The term "related" has got a slightly different meaning, doesn't it?
    – krm
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:03
  • 1
    I think if it's not a part of the project, you can safely say it is unrelated to the project. Like Google's search engine is unrelated to their video hosting site. Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 19:05

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