1

There are already other questions regarding compound names (noun + noun) and now I better understand the general rule, which seems to be, unless dealing with an exception, to only make plural one of the names, usually the last. I encounter is how to be more specific and convey the actual meaning, particularly in cases where there are no preceding articles or objectives. for example the sentence

please find figure descriptions in section 4

This should be the correct form. But how to convey different meanings: 1. There could be many descriptions for one figure 2. There could be many descriptions for each of many figures 3. There could be one description for each of many figures

So the example above can be misleading or ambiguous. I am interested in the formal use in books or scientific articles. Again, this might have been in telegraphic sentences where the number of words as to be kept to a minimum.

  • 1
    You're asking about not avoiding ambiguity, i.e. you want it to be ambiguous. I'm guessing that the noun + noun construct you're interested in is "figure descriptions". That already includes the ambiguity you're seeking, and it covers all the three cases you listed. – Lawrence Aug 19 '17 at 9:15
  • @Lawrence I changed the question title and forgot to delete the 'not', was not clear from my question that I wanted to avoid ambiguity? – Herman Toothrot Aug 19 '17 at 10:14
  • No, it wasn't. Your "how to convey different meanings" can be read to say you want a single expression that ambiguously conveys the listed meanings, or to say that you want separate expressions that unambiguously convey each listed meaning. The title helps to determine which reading to choose. Since it asked at the time "how not to avoid ambiguity", the rest of the question was read with that in mind. – Lawrence Aug 19 '17 at 16:19
  • In your example it seems not to matter at all. Singular, plural or hypothetical what circumstance is not covered by please find figure descriptions in section 4, please? – Robbie Goodwin Sep 4 '17 at 21:40
  • @RobbieGoodwin to me cases 2 and 3 that I have listed seem ambiguous, aren't they? – Herman Toothrot Sep 5 '17 at 7:43

Your Answer

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

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.