Is it correct to say in the same paragraph:
'Elephants are vegetarian. Elephants have a small tail.'
I realise that 'elephants' or any other noun representing a class, may be treated as a compound noun used as in the singular sense.
I saw the following in National Geographic. Is it correct?
'Males show mostly black, while females have an orange mandible that matches their feet.'
It is correct, althought, in my opinion, it could be better to say:
Elephants are vegetarian and have a small tail.
On the other hand, yes, when you say “elephants”, you refer to the species.
If you said “the elephants”, you would be referring to a particular group of them.
José Manuel Rosón Bravo
Interested in Language
I'm not sure of what your question is, but nouns representing a class are not compound nouns (these can be: ice-cream, bedroom..) but a generalization.
Originally Posted by Unregistered
If you wish to englobe every elephant in the world you can also say "The elephant is vegetarian and has a small tail".