I understand that communication skills is more appropriate. But, i have this doubt- Why is the word communication (which is noun) used in 'communication skills', while in 'interpersonal skills' the word 'interpersonal' is used (which is adjective)?

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    Both adjectives and nouns may (often, but not always) be used as premodifiers of head nouns. Can/should an adjective and an attributive noun be use to modify the same noun? looks at using coordinated structures. / Why? It's been found convenient: it saves on the number of necessary words we have to learn – and adjectives and noun modifiers can exist with different senses. Usages have often just evolved. / Can it lead to lack of clarity? Occasionally. Sep 8, 2017 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


This is very common with the word "skills": math skills, football skills, cooking skills, management skills. Phrases of the form " skills" are interpreted as meaning "skills in ".

This is convenient because there isn't always an adjective that can take the place of the noun. While we can say "mathematical skills", "culinary skills", and "managerial skills", there isn't a common adjective for "football".

And as Edwin Ashworth said in a comment, this is just a particular case of a general ability to use nouns as modifiers.

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