Questions tagged [nouns]

This tag is for questions about nouns. Nouns are words that refer to an entity, quality, state, action, or concept. Add this tag to single-word-requests if you are looking for a noun. Add the tag word-usage if you are asking about the usage of the noun.

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282
votes
10answers
190k views

What is the correct way to pluralize an acronym?

For example, if I wanted to write the equivalent of There are many automated teller machines in this city. Would it be There are many ATMs in this city. or There are many ATM's in this ...
17
votes
3answers
11k views

What is a noun modifying clause?

This is actually a question that came up when I was studying Japanese. Unfortunately my grasp of the technical language of syntax is very limited, and I never fully comprehended the idea of a noun ...
70
votes
8answers
83k views

Is there a reason the British omit the article when they “go to hospital”?

Why do British speakers omit the article in constructions like "go to hospital" or "go on holiday"? Pretty much all American speakers would rephrase those as "go to the hospital" and "go on a holiday",...
23
votes
3answers
9k views

“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 ...
5
votes
7answers
6k views

“Taste” is to “flavor” as “touch” and “sight” are to what?

For the senses, we have: flavor for taste aroma/odor/scent for smell sound for hearing ____? for touch/feel ____? for sight/see So one tastes a flavor, smells an aroma, hears a sound, feels a(n) ...
82
votes
8answers
14k views

Is -1 followed by a singular or plural noun?

Do we say "-1 thing" or "-1 things"? I am interested in both two things minus one thing(s) and minus/negative one thing(s)
33
votes
5answers
6k views

Words that are pluralized in the middle?

This is purely a curiosity, but I'm fascinated by mid-word pluralization, even if the word in question is a compound word. For example, passersby or standersby. No others have occurred to me. Can ...
13
votes
5answers
12k views

Why do some adjectives follow the nouns they modify?

Right now I can only think of one instance in which this regularly occurs. The adjective proper is sometimes placed after the noun it modifies, e.g: Reptilia: A class of cold-blooded oviparous or ...
60
votes
6answers
147k views

What is the correct plural of “octopus”?

What is the correct plural of octopus: Octopi? Octopodes? Octopuses? Something else?
29
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7answers
5k views

When a word has both English and 'Latin' plurals, which style should I use?

Many 'Latin' words in English have both Latin-style plurals and English-style plurals: referendum – referendums, referenda. minimum – minimums, minima. gymnasium – gymnasiums, gymnasia. ...
11
votes
2answers
6k views

What is the difference between a “singular noun” and a “plural noun treated as singular”?

I'd always thought that words like "physics" and "mathematics" were singular: after all, we say "physics is the study of…" etc. But apparently, according to the the comments on this question about "...
33
votes
5answers
6k views

Indefinite articles used with plural nouns: It was AN amazing TWO DAYS

The indefinite article a(n), derives from the old English word an meaning "one". Generally this word only occurs in determiner function before noun phrases which are singular. However, there seem to ...
44
votes
3answers
211k views

Difference between an acronym and abbreviation?

TLA is an acronym for "Three Letter Acronym". Is it also an abbreviation, since it abbreviates the original phrase?
49
votes
4answers
462k views

Correct usage of “persons” (vs. “people”)

I had a little fight about persons vs. people. Could you advise if both of the following are correct, if possible with reference to a dictionary? A table for two people please. A table for ...
30
votes
2answers
45k views

“People” or “peoples” when referring to an indigenous population?

Let's say we are talking about the indigenous pukapuka who live in Pluto. What is correct: "the pukapuka people" or "the pukapuka peoples"? I've read somewhere the usage of "peoples" in this context,...
36
votes
2answers
5k views

What kind of noun is 'picture'?

I'm not sure of the right place to ask this, but I got confused trying to understand how the computer will interpret the sentence: This is my picture. In actual sense, the real owner of the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
2
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3answers
2k views

Gerund ending in -ings?

Examples: Savings Shavings Drippings Are these gerunds? I found some resources (below) that don't seem to provide definitive answers. Page 57 Page 320
2
votes
1answer
913 views

Attributive or Possessive noun [duplicate]

In the following is it better to use a possessive noun with an apostrophe or an attributive noun without an apostrophe? The following list details the assumptions that have been made in ...
26
votes
2answers
368k views

When should “Mom” and “Dad” be capitalized?

I am trying to understand capitalization rules with Mom and Dad. I believe I have it correct below, but please let me know if I do not. The one thing I learned from my dad was that it was good to ...
24
votes
10answers
80k views

What do you call somebody who asks a question and somebody who answers a question?

What do you call somebody who asks a question and somebody who answers a question? I have exhausted the thesaurus with no real luck... any ideas? EDIT: It is in reference to this - or any other ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

“You're too clever a man”

You're too clever a man to imagine this. The above sentence was said by George Galloway, a man of excellent rhetorical skills. Since he said it, I doubt it's wrong, grammatically. But, I wonder if ...
110
votes
24answers
873k views

“Lunch” vs. “dinner” vs. “supper” — times and meanings?

I've seen cases where a noon-time meal is referred to as dinner, and the evening meal is called supper. There's also lunch around noon followed by dinner in the evening. Is there a particular ...
28
votes
18answers
16k views

Noun for “person with intermediate skill”

I'm looking for the noun form of "person with intermediate skill". For example, in the context of a particular activity, "person with no skill" might be designated a novice, and "person with much ...
22
votes
8answers
32k views

Word for grieving parents?

Is there a word that describes a parent whose child has died? Along the lines of "orphan", "widow", and "widower", is there a single word for a parent who has lost a child (of any age)?
30
votes
11answers
4k views

Single word for people who are like “a frog in the well”

Is there a single word describing someone who is like a frog in a well? The frog believes the well is the entire world. How can I describe people who think that their own small environment is the ...
22
votes
1answer
22k views

“The news is good.” Why?

We use "the news is good" instead of "the news are good." What is the rationale behind this? Are there similar situations in English?
12
votes
3answers
17k views

Hypernym for “movie” and “TV series”

What is the hypernym for movie and TV series? I read that medium might be possible, but it doesn't sound that good.
86
votes
5answers
58k views

Why is the word “pants” plural?

We wear a shirt, a jacket but a pair of pants. Why is pants plural?
16
votes
2answers
143k views

Why is the plural of “deer” the same as the singular?

Why is the plural version of deer identical to the singular version? If mouse became mice, then why did the singular deer not change to something else in the plural?
19
votes
1answer
19k views

Why “unequal” but “inequality”?

The opposite of "equal" is "unequal", yet there is no word "unequality". Why do we use "inequality" instead?
6
votes
11answers
250k views

One word for someone who thinks they can do anything, and believes everything they do is right but others are wrong

If someone thinks they are always doing the right thing, and believes others are wrong, what would I call them? Say, for example, I did something that person considers wrong. But then on another ...
54
votes
8answers
9k views

“To science the sh*t out of something”

In The Martian movie, Matt Damon (Watney), when left stranded on Mars with very limited resources to survive, says: Mark Watney: In the face of overwhelming odds, I'm left with only one option, I'm ...
58
votes
10answers
17k views

What is the difference between “gender” and “sex”?

What is the difference between gender and sex? Wiktionary says that gender is The mental analog of sex but that's too high English for me. Basically, I'm developing a web-application that stores ...
8
votes
3answers
72k views

What's the difference between the words “journey”, “travel” and “trip”? [closed]

As they always were interchangeable in an article, I just want to know the difference.
49
votes
10answers
221k views

“Race” is to “racism” as “religion” is to what?

I've heard "racist" being used in a few cases to describe bigotry towards people of a certain religion. It's a bit annoying because it implies that all people of a religion are the same race, which is ...
26
votes
3answers
6k views

Why don't English nouns have grammatical gender?

English nouns — other than those with natural gender, e.g. people or animals — do not generally have grammatical gender, and so are referred to as 'it' rather than 'he' or 'she'. However, modern ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Why don't we use the indefinite article with 'software'?

Generally, one doesn't use the indefinite article with a noun because it's plural, but sometimes you get nouns where, for some reason, the indefinite article isn't used even though the noun is ...
7
votes
5answers
11k views

Word meaning the reverse of 'Xenophobia'

Xenophobia refers to the irrational fear or hatred of foreigners. But recently I've seen people displaying (in newspaper articles and other places) an irrational fear or hatred of their own countrymen....
27
votes
4answers
33k views

What is the correct pronunciation and spelling of “asterisk”?

Every now and then I get caught out by a spellchecker around the word asterisk. I can accept that this is the correct spelling, however I hear a lot of people pronouncing it as asterix also. Is it ...
18
votes
6answers
13k views

Word for the opposite of “hypochondriasis”

Is there a word for the opposite condition of hypochondriasis? For example, someone who denies being sick when they clearly are? I would just say that they are "in denial". Is there any other ...
13
votes
3answers
42k views

Which nouns can be used as verbs?

Someone told me that the English language is special (compared to German, at least) in the way that every noun could be used as a verb. I think this phenomenon is called supine. Is this correct? ...
9
votes
4answers
41k views

What is the opposite of “personification”?

I want a word that means the opposite of personification. What is the correct word for describing people with the characteristics of an object/as if they are objects? I found the word chremamorphism ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What is XLNC an example of?

XS sounds like excess, B4 sounds like before, XLNC sounds like excellency, etc. What are these wordplays called?
5
votes
5answers
20k views

When should types of cheese be capitalized?

Does this recipe call for Cheddar cheese or cheddar cheese? Does pizza have mozzarella or Mozzarella on it? Heck, I'm not even sure if this sandwich contains Swiss cheese or swiss cheese. Is there a ...
63
votes
8answers
8k views

Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy programming/technology: “geek” or “nerd”?

Which term correctly identifies those who enjoy and are involved with programming and technology, geek or nerd?
28
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a term for grammatical mistakes as a result of trying too hard?

Today, I learned the term hyperforeignism after writing that I was drinking a latté and then stopping to wonder why I was putting a diacritical mark on the "e". This reminded me of other language ...
11
votes
2answers
10k views

Use (or non-use) of articles before abstract nouns

I know I have asked a similar question before but this time I have examples taken from COCA and they do puzzle me. I would love to hear explanations from native speakers. The following (incomplete) ...
35
votes
8answers
61k views

“Trainer” is to “trainee” as “mentor” is to what?

What do you call someone who is being mentored? Is it mentoree or mentee? Does the term student or pupil imply a context outside the business environment?