Questions tagged [attributive-nouns]

An attributive noun, also called a noun adjunct, refers to a noun placed before another noun to modify it, like "dog" in "dog catcher" and "dog food", "heart" in "heart surgery", "running" in "running shoes", "employee" in "employee compensation", and "Peter" in "Peter Principle". It is an alternative to a prepositional phrase, like "food for dogs" or "surgery of the heart". You can use a predicate test to distinguish a noun adjunct from an adjective.

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55
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1answer
335k views

Is there an apostrophe in a master's degree?

The question asks it all really. When referring to a master's degree, do you use an apostrophe or not? That is, is it "a master's" or "a masters"?
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Why are they 'nude photos'? [duplicate]

Recent news events in the US have resulted in many headlines about "nude photos of young women" and variations. Obviously it's the women who are nude, not the photos, so why does this phrasing ...
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“User accounts” or “users account”

Is it correct to say user accounts or users account when referring to the accounts any user has on a site like this one? In general, in the case of a noun that is used as adjective for the noun that ...
21
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6answers
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We say “U.S. citizen”, but why can't we say “China citizen”? Or can we?

Is the word "U.S." an adjective or a noun modifier in this case? It seems to me that it is an adjective that goes before citizen, because we say "Russian citizen", "Chinese citizen", etc. But if it's ...
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Why do we say “Japan earthquake” and not “Japanese earthquake”?

Isn’t earthquake a noun and the preceding word an adjective? Isn’t “Japanese” the adjectival form of “Japan”?
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Why are nouns sometimes pejorative when used attributively?

Certain nouns can often be used as noun adjuncts in place of a corresponding adjective, with no change in literal meaning, where: The noun is not pejorative when used nominatively by itself. Nor is ...
12
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Should “two weeks vacation” be written “two weeks’ vacation” with a possessive apostrophe?

I’ve always understood that the phrase two weeks usually turns into two weeks’ when used as a modifier as in I’m giving my two weeks’ notice. I get two weeks’ vacation. (“two weeks’ holiday” for ...
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There's a product described as “Omaha Steaks Burgers” is this proper English? [closed]

There is a commercial that has the description, Omaha Steaks Burgers, it drives me crazy. It sounds wrong, when I read it, it looks wrong. It seems improper to me. Old-fashioned burgers just ...
11
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“Employee” in the phrase “employee ID” is a determiner, not an adjective—right?

I am a software developer with a bit of a linguistic slant. We were recently given some training on how to name database fields and were told to avoid adjectives in names. Then we were given an ...
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4answers
722 views

What is the word that denotes the words preceding these nouns?

What word describes/denotes the words that precede vision in the following two words: computer vision and machine vision?
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1answer
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When can a noun be used attributively?

Nouns can modify nouns: cat food, coffee cup, gold ring, laser surgery, flood insurance. It seems to me there are even cases where a noun sounds better than the corresponding adjective: sociology ...
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One’s love confession vs. One’s confession of love

The following is an extract taken from an Italian student's piece of English homework before I corrected it. Also Mr Amos’s girlfriend, Sabina, arrives to the restaurant, and she assisted to ...
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Is this noun used as an adjective?

I read this recently in The Economist: At the end of the summit, the French and European officials had claimed a points victory over the Germans by getting them to agree more firmly to a target ...
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Are “skill set” and “skill sets” both acceptable?

Are the phrases skill set and skill sets both correct? As I see it, set implies a single set of related skills whereas sets can be taken to mean multiple sets of skills around different ...
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1answer
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When are attributive nouns plural?

Sorry for the title, it is not very evident and intuitive but I really do not how to tell it better... Well, you know, several times, or better, many times, we use this form: If I want to say: "...
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should a list of tokens be called a “token list” or a “tokens list” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “User accounts” or “users account?” I ask because a list of tasks would usually be called a "task list". However a list or previous winners of a ...
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6answers
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Is it still an “ice cream cone” if it doesn't have ice cream?

I had a discussion with some friends yesterday about whether the term "ice cream cone" describes: Simply the cone itself or The cone plus the ice cream Upon looking in several online dictionaries, I ...
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3answers
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Plural nouns in nominal compounds

I wonder whether there are rules or guidelines regarding plural nouns in nominal compounds. For example a compound university students list. If there are many lists and many universities is it ...
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2answers
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A noun adjunct / the possessive case

Sometimes it’s possible to use either a noun adjunct or the possessive case. the shop door the shop’s door However, in certain phrases it’s not OK to do so. the ship’s crew (the ship crew is ...
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Wafer — New Adjective or Attributive Noun?

In The Guardian today, Andrew Rawnsley writes that the Prime Minister would have a wafer and volatile majority. On the assumption that "wafer" here is not simply a misprint for "wafer-thin", what do ...
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What do you call a person who loves to run? [closed]

If we follow the pattern of 'cat lover', is it correct to say 'run lover'? If I use Google translator to Spanish (my mother tongue), 'run lover' sounds more like a shout you'd say to your lover to ...
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3answers
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What does “consequence-free chance” mean?

I read this sentence on TIME (Oct.23 2017), Having announced that he will retire at the end of 2018, Corker, once a key Trump ally, could emerge as a leading check on some of the President’s worst ...
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Why is it “materials science” instead of “material science”?

Does anyone know how the "s" at the end of "materials" in "materials science" came about? It seems like "material science" would be equivalent, and is more natural to say aloud. For comparison with a ...
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2answers
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Can the word ‘genius’ be used as an adjective?

Can the word 'genius' be used as an adjective? For example: 'A genius plan' or 'This is a genius piece of work'?
8
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1answer
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Referring a particular website, should I use the noun adjunct or the genitive/possessive?

I'm wondering if there are any guidelines about using the noun adjunct or the possessive with a website and a company. Should I write: go to the Twitter website or go to Twitter's website? AFAIK ...
8
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3answers
938 views

Origin of plurality of “wars” in phrases like “Star Wars”

There are a number of compounds in English of the form "noun wars," e.g. "Star Wars," "mommy wars," "culture wars." Why do these show "wars" in the plural? It seems like normally "wars" would pertain ...
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8answers
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A word used to describe someone who loves to be photographed [closed]

I am trying to figure out if there is a word to describe a person who loves to be photographed.
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“BookList” or “booksList?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: “User accounts” or “users account?” Is it correct to say “lesson count” or “lessons count”? I'm wondering whether or not I ...
7
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4answers
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Using apostrophes correctly

I've read a great article about the usage of apostrophes. But there are still some points that are unclear. Why do we say... school project but not school's project? car service but not car's ...
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3answers
758 views

“The England … team” vs “The English … team”

Why are country sports teams, for example, from England, referred to as 'The England football team' as opposed to 'The English football team'?
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Deriving nouns and adjectives from place names

When describing people we often use adjectives based on their place of origin. (I'm asking about people only for simplicity.) 1) She is American. 2) He is English. 3) They are Canadian. You can ...
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3answers
994 views

“Fish and chips shop” or “fish and chip shop”?

When referring to a restaurant specializing in fish and chips would you call it a fish and chip shop or a fish and chips shop?
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7answers
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Can a noun work as an adjective, and the adjective as a noun?

Hazel Eyes I found the following paragraph in the guycounseling.com blog article “Hazel Eyes: Learn Why People with Greenish Eye Color are Rare!”, containing the two words “hazel eyes”: Hazel eyes ...
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2answers
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Rescue dogs vs rescued dogs

Why is a dog that has been saved from the pound called a rescue dog instead of a rescued dog?
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2answers
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Item queue vs items queue? Files list vs File list? [duplicate]

My question is connected with programming. I'm not sure how to name my class. Should it be ItemQueue or ItemsQueue? We are talking about queue, which stores many items. We can add new ones or remove ...
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3answers
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Grammatical number of Latin nouns used attributively before other nouns

I read a paper today that kept using "multistrata" to describe an object with multiple layers. For example: I love multistrata cakes. This sounds wrong to my ear, I think "multistratum" sounds ...
6
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2answers
646 views

using noun as adjective; does position matter?

I'm doing some programming and I'm analyzing text written in English. I'm identifying parts of speech and I run into cases where I have something like vacuum cleaner. I, as a human, know that the word ...
6
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1answer
568 views

Noun adjuncts, possessive or using “of”

meta: This is my first time on your site. I have been teaching English for longer than I care to mention (native speaker). I am trying to find a way of explaining to some intermediate students why ...
6
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1answer
807 views

Irregular plurals in noun adjuncts

Several psycholinguists1,2 have observed that English speakers do not use regular plurals in compounds, even when the noun refers to more than one instance (dog-catcher, *dogs-catcher), but do use ...
5
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3answers
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“Electric bill”, “electrical bill” or “electricity bill” [closed]

Which is correct: electric bill, electrical bill or electricity bill?
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3answers
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Where should the apostrophe be placed in “Goats Milk”?

Milk from goats is available in supermarkets. On the shelves of our local store in England, I have found cartons boldly labelled all three of Goats Milk Goat's Milk Goats' Milk Most brands use ...
5
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5answers
205 views

A synonym for “total” with a negative connotation

I'm looking for a synonym for "total", as in sum of multiple of parts, but with a negative connotation. The context is that a man finds all his sins combined—his total—in tangible form. My first ...
5
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3answers
155 views

Can you use “return” with noun adjuncts?

My friend used a phrase "the dark side return" meaning "the return of the dark side". I have a feeling native speakers would never put it that way, but can't articulate my position. Is that true? Can ...
5
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1answer
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Age description and hyphenating

How would I say a toddler is 2 years and 7 months old correctly? Is this right: It is a two-year-seven-month-old toddler. Or do I need an “and” between? I personally think hyphenating here looks ...
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3answers
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Genitive case or attributive noun

Is there any rule for when it is better to use genitive case or noun as adjective? I'm not sure if there is any difference in meaning in this example: The department of accounting The ...
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3answers
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Is it ok to omit a possessive apostrophe before a capitalized appellation (President, country name, VP, PM)?

In a recent Financial Times article (Yemen PM Escapes Assissnation), the apostrophe necessary to show possession was left out. I've seen colleagues do it as well. Isn't it supposed to be "Yemen's PM ...
4
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3answers
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Ending sentence with two nouns?

This is from NYTimes: And again and again, and closer and closer, it returns to a speeding commuter train, a recurrence that artfully foreshadows the story’s nifty repetition compulsion. How can ...
4
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1answer
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“Attributive Noun” vs “ Compound Noun”

What's the difference between an "attributive and a compound noun"? Some English sites say it's all but thee same and some sites say they're different. Compound : In a compound noun all the words ...
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2answers
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Usage of double plural

Here we have the plural in the end: "communication technology services" Here we have two plurals(quite common in google): "communications technology services" Eventually, we could have three ...
4
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1answer
208 views

Are there nouns that undergo no change when used in the possessive (Saxon genitive)?

I’m looking for the existence of English nouns (common or proper) that undergo no change when used in their possessive (Saxon genitive) form, i.e. that do not take the usual ’s appendage the way radio’...