In the phrase "Good afternoon" what type of word is 'afternoon'?

I've argued that it was a temporal pronoun, but a colleague googled the term "temporal pronoun" and came up with almost nothing, so I'm now convinced that is an incorrect description.

Is there a category that succinctly describes the temporal part of traditional greeting such as "Good morning", "Good day", "Good night"?

  • 1
    Where's the pro- from, please? – Kris Jun 1 '16 at 11:35
  • 2
    I think afternoon. by itself, is a temporal noun; good afternoon is a phrasal exclamation. – Kris Jun 1 '16 at 11:47
  • 3
    @DanBron I don't think deictic noun has anything to do with the expression at hand. – Kris Jun 1 '16 at 12:00
  • 1
    @MattFellows Ah, so you were bitten by Muphry's Law? Well, I suppose they call it a law for a reason. (No, I did not misspell Murphy's; follow the link.) – Dan Bron Jun 1 '16 at 12:26
  • 1
    Day names are calendric, not deictic; Tuesday is still Tuesday whether it's today or not. Check out Fillmore's Deixis lectures. – John Lawler Jun 1 '16 at 14:22

Afternoon would be considered as a common compound noun, but different periods of the day don't classify under one category of nouns, though they all seem to be common nouns.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.