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I wonder if these phrase following is correct? Can you help me

"strange-noise-making machine"

"Make-strange-noise machine"

If they are not correct, how can we fix it?

Examples:

  1. My motorbike is obsolete, it is really a strange-noise-making machine.
  2. My motorbike is obsolete, it is really a make-strange-noise machine.
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    How are you planning to use this phrase? Can you give an example sentence? Depending on the context, it might sound more natural to replace it with a construction using a relative clause, like "a machine that was making strange noises". But that would be wrong if you mean "a machine for making strange noises". – herisson May 23 '17 at 18:40
  • Thank sumelic I have exp: 1. My motorbike is obsolete, it is really a strange-noise-making machine. 2. My motorbike is obsolete, it is really a make-strange-noise machine. Btw, "that would be wrong if you mean "a machine for making strange noises". What is "that"? that is "strange-noise-making machine"? that is "a machine that was making strange noises" – Tinh Van May 24 '17 at 5:00
  • Oh, by "that would be wrong if you mean "a machine for making strange noises" I meant "a machine that was making strange noises" would be wrong in that situation. – herisson May 24 '17 at 5:54
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    You probably don’t mean it is obsolete but rather worn out. And a strange-noise-making machine is one that is designed or whose purpose is for making strange noises. I think what you want to say is, “My motorcycle may be about to die- it’s starting to make strange noises.” – Jim May 24 '17 at 6:32
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"a strange-noise-making machine" correct

"a make-strange-noise machine" incorrect

I would understand a strange-noise-making machine to be a machine whose purpose is to make strange noises, just an ice-cream-making machine is a machine whose purpose is to make ice cream.

However, it could also mean a noise-making machine that is strange. So it's kind of ambiguous, but it's not too bad because we can work out the meaning from the context.

You could also say it like this:

"a machine for making strange noises" That is, a machine whose purpose is to make strange noises.

"a machine that makes strange noises" That is, a machine (of unspecified purpose) that makes strange noises.

I take it that you are making a joke something like this:

"What's your motorbike like?"

"Oh, it's so worn out, it's more of a strange-noise-making machine than a motorbike at this stage." Or, "That's not a motorbike. That's a strange-noise-making machine."

I think those would be fine.

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  • Thank dangph so much. Btw, can you show me what is the difference between "a machine for making strange noises" and "a machine to make noise" – Tinh Van May 24 '17 at 11:52
  • @TinhVan, I would say they are more or less the same. There are some differences, but they would be hard to explain. – dangph May 25 '17 at 1:36
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    A machine for making noise that's also strange would be a strange noise-making machine. Note the lack of a first hyphen. So there's no ambiguity. – Chris H Jul 23 '17 at 11:53
  • If we really want to parse semantics, I'd say "a machine to make strange noises" is a machine which you can use to make strange noises, though that may or may not be its intended purpose. "A machine for making strange noises" is a machine whose primary purpose is to make strange noises. – Talmage Jul 23 '18 at 18:22

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