I saw this announcement on train:

The train service terminates at ...

I think, in the noun phrase the train service, the word train does not modify the noun service (Edit: as other noun acting as Adj ).

I think, tt should be the service of train; therefore, the sentence called for a genetive ,with 's, not noun acting as a adjective the word train should have the 's to show a possessive.

(Edit) The train in the question is not a regular service, it's an ad hoc service in rush hour.

What should it be?

  • I had forgotten to mention that the train's service , in the question, is a special service not a routine service.
    – Mr.X
    Jan 24 '11 at 13:12

The train service is fine as written. Nouns in English can act as adjectives. Examples:

  • Bullet points
  • Bilge water
  • Boat dock
  • Shower head
  • Piano keys

These behave more like compound nouns, and eventually they may merge into single words over time. For example, carwash, keyboard, etc.

  • 2
    I take issue with the statement "Nouns can act as adjectives," as I think this confuses the issue. It's not that nouns can act as adjectives, but that nouns can freely modify other nouns. When used as modifiers, though, these nouns don't become adjectives. Jan 24 '11 at 14:21
  • 2
    @JSBangs: With all due respect, if "nouns can freely modify other nouns" then they are acting as adjectives. I never said they become adjectives.
    – Robusto
    Jan 24 '11 at 14:31
  • 1
    @Robusto, I supposed I can accept the statement "nouns can act as adjectives" so long as all we mean by that is "nouns can modify other nouns". It's crucial, though, to realize that nouns in this construction don't get any of the other syntactic or morphological properties of adjectives: they can't be used as predicates, they can't be modified by adverbs, and they don't form comparatives. Jan 24 '11 at 14:46
  • 1
    @JSBangs: If this were a software discussion, I would say that nouns are implementing the adjective interface in this example. :) And, yes, I agree that the constraints you mention are worth noting.
    – Robusto
    Jan 24 '11 at 14:52
  • 2
    @Robusto, but Adjective isn't an interface. Rather, Adjective is a class that implements IModifier, IComparable, IPredicate, and others. Nouns only ever implement IModifier, and a Noun implementing IModifier does not become an instance of Adjective. (Sorry, I couldn't resist the analogy.) Jan 24 '11 at 15:00

Service is a noun, you can use it for this meaning as a noun which an adjective comes before it. Some examples are:

  • the health service
  • the postal service
  • the police service
  • the prison service

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