I thought of a small wiki heading Software Pricing and Pricing software with details covered in the body section.

Software Pricing means how to price software while Pricing Software means software used for pricing products (actually that's what I want it to mean).

  • Does both grammatically mean the same?
  • Does the mere juxtaposition of words is enough to make it implicitly understandable or I got to make it more clear?
  • What does this technique (just rearranging the words to convey different meaning) called?

I have similar questions about deer hunting and hunting deer, and many others.

  • I guess that generally tag lines could be a juxtaposition of words. Why do you think tag lines must not use a juxtaposition of words? – kiamlaluno Dec 19 '11 at 14:07
  • It does occur to me that "how to price software" and "software used for pricing products" belong on different pages; it would solve your problem to have each subject on its own page with its own title. – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:34

OP is mistaken in thinking that software pricing and pricing software are both simply juxtapositions of two words.

The standard pattern in English is modifier precedes noun, so unless it's some unusual "set phrase" (Knights Templar, Man Friday, Intellectual manqué, etc), we assume the second word is the dominant noun.

By default therefore, software pricing is the subset of "pricing activity" concerned with software, and pricing software is the subset of software concerned with pricing. Thus there shouldn't normally be any confusion about meaning, because word-order is significant

  • Your examples of "unusual set phrases" are all, indeed, unusual, yet if I follow your logic, "eating fish" refers to fish that eat. – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:43
  • @slim: You keep coming back to the same issue. Eating fish as a tag would by default mean the subset of all fish concerned with eating - either because those fish were suitable for eating, or because the fish themselves were eating (as opposed to, say, swimming about). We're talking here about pairs of words used as identifiers - not an isolated verb + noun that needs to be preceded by a subject. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '11 at 16:51
  • The question asks about "tags or headings"; the question is tagged headings. If I saw a newspaper article, or a wiki page headed "Eating Fish", I would expect it to be about the activity of eating fish. If he's really asking about strings used to classify database entries, he needs to say so. A "tag line" is not that. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagline – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:56
  • For obvious reasons we don't have a tag called tag. In general ELU is not concerned with analysing the grammar of things like newspaper headlines, section headings in articles, etc. I don't know why OP has accepted my answer without upvoting it, but I'm content that my point regarding the modifier precedes noun principle is the relevant issue here. If you don't accept that then I don't think there's really any more I can say about the matter. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '11 at 17:08

"Software pricing" is ambiguous.

  • the prices of our software (compare with "meter reading")
  • the act of choosing prices for software (compare with "guitar playing")

To be less ambiguous, you could use "software prices" (or just "prices") or "how to price software". Or you could simply allow people to infer the correct meaning from context.

"Pricing software" is ambiguous:

  • software for pricing (compare with "walking stick")
  • the act of setting a price for software (compare with "shooting ducks")

To be less ambiguous, you could use the phrase "software for pricing"

"Hunting deer" seems unambiguous, but that's semantic. If you substitute "dogs" for "deer", you get "Hunting dogs"; are we looking for dogs, or are we referring to dogs bred to assist humans in the act of hunting?

  • The only ambiguity in hunting dogs arises from the possibility that it might be a "verb + object" construction. This wouldn't normally arise in OP's context of two-word "tags", because there we almost always use the "modifier + noun" form. So that meaning would be tagged as dog hunting. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '11 at 16:08
  • But he has exactly that ambiguity in his example. "Pricing software". Is it "verb + object" or "verb-as-adjective + object"? – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:11
  • @FumbleFingers or to put it another way, "Hunting Deer" would not jar as a tag/title/heading, and you'd understand that deer were the quarry. "Hunting Dogs" would also not jar as a tag/title/heading, and you'd understand that dogs were the pursuers. Yet there is no difference in syntax. – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:17
  • Whereas "hunting deer" can arise in a sentence as verb + noun, it's not normal to use that word-order in composite identifiers such as OP's "tag" context. It just so happens that in real world hunting, dogs are usually pursuers, and deer are usually quarry. With your knowledge of this fact you can choose to override the normal interpretive rules, but a sensible tag-naming strategy avoids it in the first place. The standard tag would be deer hunting. – FumbleFingers Dec 19 '11 at 16:29
  • @FumbleFingers I notice the phrase "tag lines" in the question heading, but the body of the question is about headings, so I'm not sure how you're inferring all this stuff about "the OP's 'tag' context". – slim Dec 19 '11 at 16:33

Both do not mean the same thing.

That can be seen easily in the second example you have quoted viz. Deer Hunting and Hunting deer. In the first you are referring to the act of hunting where as Hunting deer will refer to a deer that hunts.

Permutations in the case of a heading will add to confusion rather than helping in clarification.

I agree with @slim 's suggestion for your heading.

I think people generally use different permutations in tags, keyword etc. to increase hits or help in searching.

  • 'Both do not mean the same thing.' One of them does? – Kris Dec 20 '11 at 5:42

Software Pricing and Pricing software both make perfect sense, only in the proper context. In a tag line, the idea is to drive home the point unambiguously and in a short and catchy manner, not to confound the reader.

So, it is not the appropriate place to use juxtaposition or any other literary technique.

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