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49460ISSUE: Noun modifiers revisited (was Re: "mains")

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  • Melvyn
    Jul 6, 2012
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      Everything you ever wanted to know about plural noun modifiers (also known as adjectival nouns, noun adjuncts and attributive nouns):




      --- In Czechlist@yahoogroups.com, "melvyn.geo" <zehrovak@...> wrote:
      > This issue cropped up a few months back and I seem to recall Jirka B. pointed out that plural noun modifiers are nothing particularly anomalous (words to that effect).
      > I quote from Practical English Usage by Michael Swan (International Student's Edition) p. 532: Singular and plural noun modifiers.
      > Some nouns have the plural -s even when they modify other nouns. These include nouns which have no singular form (like clothes), nouns which are not used in the singular with the same meaning (like customs) and some nouns which are more often used in the plural than in the singular (like savings). In some cases (e.g. sport(s), drug(s)), usage is divided, and both singular and plural forms are found. In general, the use of plural modifiers is becoming more common in British English; American English often has singular forms where British has plurals. Some examples:
      > a clothes shop
      > a savings account
      > a glasses case
      > the accounts department
      > a customs officer
      > the sales department
      > arms control
      > an antique(s) dealer
      > the outpatients department
      > a greetings card (US greeting card)
      > the arrivals hall (US arrival hall)
      > a drinks cabinet (US drink cabinet)
      > a goods train (BrEng)
      > a sports car
      > sport(s) shoes
      > Do any of these forms sound very odd to you?
      > HTH
      > M.
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