I am working on CCG (combinatory categorial grammar), which assigns categories to words.

So I was wondering if 'leg' is adjective, or just another noun in the phrase "skipping leg days". Or is "leg day" a noun phrase by itself? I mean do they combine to become "leg days", or "leg days" is already a form?

CCG would give leg a 'N' tag, and days a 'NP\N'. Meaning, days need a NOUN to its left to combine and become a NOUN PHRASE, that slash in between implies us this. A background info about this combinator is below;

Y : a X\Y : f  ⇒  X : fa         (Backward Application : <)

leg    days
N      NP\N
leg days

  • What is a "leg day"?
    – BillJ
    Jul 23, 2019 at 11:52
  • 1
    Leg day is a day in which you work the lower half of your body at the gym :))
    – Karavana
    Jul 23, 2019 at 11:54
  • Perhaps "leg" is an adjective in the phrase "leg training day", which is usually abbreviated to just "leg day".
    – nnnnnn
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:24
  • 1
    "Leg" is a noun functioning as a modifier in the noun phrase "leg day". What else could it possibly be?
    – BillJ
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:37
  • 3
    @nnnnnn No, it is still a noun. When you want to use transitive nonfinite clauses like to train (the) legs or training (the) legs attributively, you move the object before the verb and out it in the singular like almost all other attributive nouns do, and also usually hyphenate it.
    – tchrist
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


In leg day, leg is a noun and day is a noun. Leg is an attributive noun (ThoughtCo) or noun adjunct in this noun phrase; it describes the kind of day.

Attributive nouns are commonly used with other nouns to form noun phrases in English. You can even form further noun phrases by using a noun phrase as an attributive noun: Business ethics uses business as an attributive noun; business ethics class uses business ethics as an attributive noun phrase. So you could talk about your leg day schedule, or your leg day routine. It's not hard to generate sentences with multiple noun phrases formed in this way:

After my business ethics class, I took my sports car to the branch office, where I met my Human Resources coworkers for Taco Tuesday margaritas.


Yes, “Leg” would be considered an adjective as it’s being used in that sentence even though it’s a noun.


  • How can it be an adjective? It's a noun function as a modifier of "day". Not everything that modifies a noun is an adjective, you know!
    – BillJ
    Jul 23, 2019 at 12:37
  • Yes. Even though it's a noun, in this phrase, It's considered an adjective or it's acting as an adjective. It's assuming an adjectival role. Jul 23, 2019 at 14:02
  • 2
    No, it's not considered an adjective: it's assuming a modifier role. This is precisely why it is so important to distinguish category (part of speech, like noun verb adjective etc.) and function (subject, object, modifier etc.)
    – BillJ
    Jul 23, 2019 at 14:53
  • +1 for the link, so as far as I understood it should get a noun tag in a categorial grammar.
    – Karavana
    Jul 23, 2019 at 19:29
  • Notice the scare quotes in 'In that case, the first noun "acts as" an adjective' in the link. This indicates an etic (non-technical-term) usage, where a grammarian would be looking for a well-defined usage. Read ' "acts as" an adjective' here as 'is fulfilling a premodifier role like an attributive adjective, seems to be behaving exactly like an adjective, but is considered by most if not all grammarians still to be a noun for reasons E Lang Undergrads have to strive to understand'. Aug 22, 2019 at 14:08

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