The noun "vicinity" is used with the preposition "in" before it and sometimes with "of" after it:

There are a few hotels in the vicinity.

There is a good shop in the vicinity of the station.

Why isn't it correct to say "in the station vicinity" making a compound noun?

It's OK to say "the center of the city" and "the city center" but it's not the same with "vicinity"...

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    "Station's vicinity", with an apostrophe-s. -- "... based on the station's category and setting, taking into account the alignment's profile in the station's vicinity (in a tunnel, on a viaduct, etc.)." Vision for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor; books.google.co.in/books?isbn=1437940943 – Kris Jun 4 '18 at 11:51
  • @Kris: Sure, it's possible to include a possessive apostrophe there, as evidenced by 149 hits in Google Books for in the station's vicinity. But that's not the normal form - there are 1020 hits for the more idiomatic "noun adjunct" form in the station vicinity. – FumbleFingers Jun 4 '18 at 14:16
  • @FumbleFingers but I found neither "in the station's vicinity" nor "in the station vicinity" in any decent dictionary... – Enguroo Jun 4 '18 at 14:24
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    This is an interesting question - why (other than because of historical usage) can't vicinity take a noun adjunct? I think neighbourhood has a similar issue. Though if we accept "Paris neighbourhood", "Paris vicinity" starts to sound 'less bad'. I look forward to an answer by our linguists. – Lawrence Jun 4 '18 at 14:30
  • @Enguroo: Why would you expect to find things like that in a dictionary? It's behind a paywall, but the full OED cites two example usages: ...from London and its vicinity and ...would most probably have in it's vicinity. Putting aside the fact that we don't include the apostrophe in the possessive form of it today, that would answer your question. But avoiding the paywall, just note how many written instances there are of from London and its vicinity in Google Books. – FumbleFingers Jun 4 '18 at 15:19

Aplogies in advance, I lack the specific terms to describe the concept, but bear with me!

"Vicinity" needs to belong to something. Using the first example:

There are a few hotels in the vicinity.

There's an implied "of the [object]" on the end, e.g.: "There are a few hotels in the vicinity of the beach". This means that although in some cases it can be implied and thus hidden from speech, it's always "in the vicinity of [object]".

With that in mind, and how "vicinity" needs to be posessed, you would say "in the station's vicinity", or "in the beach's vicinity" going back to the previous example.

Further, although most people drop the possesive when saying "city centre", I think that it's actually "city's centre", just like you'd never say "the staircase is at the building centre", but "the building's centre". As such, "vicinity" can be used in the same way -- posessively.

  • "City centre" and "Town centre" are more than simply "most people" dropping a possessive - they are the established and preferred forms on signage, at least in the UK. So I'd say that's established English (possibly originating as you suggest) not merely informal usage. – Toby Speight Nov 13 '18 at 13:08

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