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Thread: surgeon general

  1. Unregistered
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    #1

    surgeon general

    given this sentence:

    The old general feels bad.

    "old" is a adjective and "general" is a noun.

    Now given this sentence:

    The surgeon general feels bad.

    Why is "surgeon" a noun and "general" a adjective?
    I would expect "surgeon" to be a adjective and "general" to be a noun.

    Can anybody please explain this?
    Thank you in advance.

  2. Steven D's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2004
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    #2

    Re: surgeon general

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered
    given this sentence:

    The old general feels bad.

    "old" is a adjective and "general" is a noun.

    Now given this sentence:

    The surgeon general feels bad.

    Why is "surgeon" a noun and "general" a adjective?
    I would expect "surgeon" to be a adjective and "general" to be a noun.

    Can anybody please explain this?
    Thank you in advance.
    Placing an adjective after a noun is an extremely infrequent occurence in English. However, it can happen. It would be done to make a strong statement.

    surgeon general - If we say "general surgeon" it's not necessarily apparent and clear that this surgeon is the one in charge of the U.S. public health service.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/sear...urgeon+general


    It comes to mind with "things".

    They have an interest in things American it would seem.

    things American - things that are American

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...gs+american%22

    They have an interest in things European. - things that are European

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...gs+European%22

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