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  1. #1
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    Question noun groups / adjectives

    Dear teacher,
    I'm puzzled with a name of a TV program. The name is "Special Victims Unit". In my understanding, the words special and victims are functioning as adjectives before the noun "unit". If I'm right, how the word "victims" is written in plural? I looked for this explanation in my english grammar books and could not find the answer. Could you give me the answer?
    Thank you,
    Flavia Augusta

  2. #2
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: noun groups / adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Flavia Augusta View Post
    Dear teacher,
    I'm puzzled with a name of a TV program. The name is "Special Victims Unit". In my understanding, the words special and victims are functioning as adjectives before the noun "unit". If I'm right, how the word "victims" is written in plural? I looked for this explanation in my english grammar books and could not find the answer. Could you give me the answer?
    Thank you,
    Flavia Augusta

    "Special Victims" is the name of the unit. It describes the unit (noun).

  3. #3
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: noun groups / adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Flavia Augusta View Post
    Dear teacher,
    I'm puzzled with a name of a TV program. The name is "Special Victims Unit". In my understanding, the words special and victims are functioning as adjectives before the noun "unit". If I'm right, how the word "victims" is written in plural? I looked for this explanation in my english grammar books and could not find the answer. Could you give me the answer?
    Thank you,
    Flavia Augusta
    Your question is, I imagine, based on the false, but common, assumption that attributive nouns - as 'ticket' in 'ticket machine' or 'elephant' in 'elephant gun' - are invariably singular: actually, although this is true of the majority, in a number of cases the plural form may be optional and, in some, as here, even obligatory ('special victim unit' would be a most unnatural expression).

    The difficulty for the learner is that the form of the attributive noun is fixed by convention rather than according to any very clear or logical rule, making it one of those - perhaps annoying! - features of English where only experience/case-by-case learning will avail.

    The good news is that any good learners' dictionary will tend to carry this kind of linguistic information, and, if all else fails, you can always turn to websites such as this for help!

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