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I sell a product that I've named Unicorn Sequin Pillow Cover. Did I write it correctly? It is a pillowcase made from sequins with unicorn printed on it.

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    Stacking premodifiers can lead to ambiguity and/or clumsiness. I'd stick with the closed compound pillowcase, for a start. Mar 20 '18 at 10:03
  • A Unicorn Sequin Pillow Cover sounds like a sequin-covered pillow cover in the shape of a unicorn. Mar 20 '18 at 14:28
  • Relevant: english.stackexchange.com/q/1155/13804
    – cobaltduck
    Mar 20 '18 at 17:26
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If the sequins have unicorns printed on them, then yes.

If the unicorn is made of sequins then it is a Sequin Unicorn Pillow Cover

explanation

We start with “pillow cover”, or “pillow case”. A cover of a pillow. We then assign the property unicorn to the pillow cover. “unicorn pillow cover”. Then we assign the property sequin to the unicorn. “Sequin Unicorn Pillow Cover” (and put it in title case).

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  • "If the unicorn is made of sequins then it is a Sequin Unicorn Pillow Cover". Can you explain why you think this? (to my mind, the OP's version would be fine for both situations)
    – Rupe
    Mar 20 '18 at 11:11
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    Sequin unicorn is a unicorn with a sequin property (e.g. made of sequins), as a red unicorn is a unicorn with a red property (e.g. that is red). A unicorn sequin is a sequin with a unicorn property (may be printed on it), same as a red sequin is a sequin with a red property. Mar 20 '18 at 13:20
  • That's one reading, not the only possible one. A "Unicorn Sequin Pillow Cover" could just as easily be a "Sequin Pillow Cover" that features a unicorn. Sorry but this answer is unjustifiably dogmatic, downvoted...
    – Rupe
    Mar 20 '18 at 16:25
  • @Rupe maybe a Sequin Pillow Cover for a unicorn. Like instead of a saddle. But yes I think you are correct. But I still think my order is slightly better. Mar 20 '18 at 18:47
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I've seen "Sequins Mermaid Pillow Case", for instance. Which "sounds" quite right, a.k.a. doesn't make anyone's ears bleed. I believe it's all about following some kind of substance/attributes hierarchy as to order the terms. So, if I'm on the same vibe as in my example sentence, I think I'd rename this item you're about to sell, namely: Sequins Unicorn Pillow Cover.

Wishing you sweet deals.

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  • Do you prefer pillowcase or pillow cover?
    – Han
    Mar 20 '18 at 10:43
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    Why the plural on sequins, it should not be plural. Even though there are many sequins. Mar 20 '18 at 13:24
  • Was your question for me, Han? If so, I'd say I do not have a preference here: english not being my first language, it's hard for me to grasp those slight nuances of "how word A rings, versus B" in my head.
    – Torquemada
    Mar 20 '18 at 15:15
  • How about "pillow-case" or "pillow case" then? Am I to see them as less valid, or plain wrong?
    – Torquemada
    Mar 20 '18 at 15:17
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Yes, that name is fine.

If you were trying to describe the product, it would be better to use something less ambiguous. All people will know from the name is that the pillow cover features sequins and unicorns in some way. They won't know how heavily the sequins feature, or whether the unicorn is made of sequins, printed on, or the shape of the pillow itself.

But unless your customers are the kind of sequin/unicorn devotees that will buy anything that features them, they are going to want to look at a picture before purchasing anyway.

It could be argued that the ordering of the words makes it sound like the unicorn is made of sequins, or the sequins have unicorns on them, but to me these seem like results of reading the name as if it is part of a sentence, rather than just a name. In a product name, regardless of the exact structure of the product, it could make a lot of sense to put the "Unicorn" (presumably the most distinguishing characteristic) at the start as you have done, particularly if there are other types of "Sequin Pillow Cover" in your inventory.

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  • I agree with Edwin that "pillow-case" would feel less clumsy, but I've left that out of my answer because I don't believe it relates to the name's "correctness", which is what we were asked about.
    – Rupe
    Mar 20 '18 at 16:55

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