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If you have an npm library (a piece of software program, a chunk of computer code) as a noun, how would you turn it into an adjective of relation?

Something like "softwarian" or "programmarian", just a real word?

  • Relation to what? Can you give an example sentence showing how you intend to use your word? – oerkelens Nov 27 '17 at 9:53
  • For example, if you want to say in a fancy way that an npm library was resuscitated, you would say "npm-librarian resuscitation" happened. Except "npm-librarian" should be a real word. We need something like "pulmonic resuscitation", just for pieces of software. – revelt Nov 27 '17 at 10:11
  • I think I'd stick with 'We performed a resuscitation of an (the) npm library'. – WS2 Nov 27 '17 at 10:26
  • Better provide an example sentence to help us help you. – Kris Nov 27 '17 at 12:12
  • can't you just use 'she'? – JMP Nov 27 '17 at 12:39
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In many cases, software naming doesn't allow for simple adjectivization. I currently can't think of any example (in a software context) where an adjective (based on a noun) is used.

Instead, it is much more idiomatic to use the noun attributively, also known as a noun adjunct, emphasis mine:

It is a trait of natural language that there is often more than one way to say something. Any logically valid option will usually find some currency in natural usage. Thus "erythrocyte maturation" and "erythrocytic maturation" can both be heard, the first using a noun adjunct and the second using an adjectival inflection. In some cases one of the equivalent forms has greater idiomaticness; thus "cell cycle" is more commonly used than "cellular cycle".

The emphasized part is relevant to your question. When referring to programming terms, the noun adjunct is more idiomatic in the majority of cases, and arguably the default approach to modifying a noun.

The linked page also contains a few examples where there is a meaningful distinction between the noun adjuct and the adjectival inflection:

  • In some cases, each form tends to adhere to a certain sense; thus "face mask" is the normal term in hockey, and "facial mask" is heard more often in spa treatments.
  • Although "spine cord" is not an idiomatic alternative to "spinal cord", in other cases, the options are arbitrarily interchangeable with negligible idiomatic difference; thus "spine injury" and "spinal injury" coexist and are equivalent from any practical viewpoint, ...
  • ... as are "meniscus transplant" and "meniscal transplant".
  • A special case in medical usage is "visual examination" versus "vision examination": the first typically means "an examination made visually", whereas the latter means "an examination of the patient's vision".

Notice how common it is for software development:

  • The code quality (instead of the possessive)
  • The npm library installation (instead of an adjective or possessive)
  • The Visual Studio debugger (instead of the possessive)
  • The interface implementation (instead of an adjective or possessive)

Constructions like "the interfacial implementation" or "the code's quality" are technically correct (going by general English grammar), but sound non-idiomatic in a programming context.


If you want to avoid using noun adjuncts (because you're creating a long chain of adjuncts, or to avoid a contextual ambiguity), then I suggest you stick to the more verbose possessive:

  • The quality of the code
  • The installation of the npm library
  • The implementation of the interface(s)

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