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    #1

    singular or plural?

    We have some coatings and we are talking about their surfaces.
    Which of these are better?
    1. coating surfaces.
    2. coatings surfaces.
    3. coatings surface.
    4. surfaces of coatings
    or any other?
    Thanks,
    Ata

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: singular or plural?

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    We have some coatings and we are talking about their surfaces.
    Which of these are better?
    1. coating surfaces.
    2. coatings surfaces.
    3. coatings surface.
    4. surfaces of coatings
    or any other?
    Thanks,
    Ata
    I would use sentence 1, or sentence 2 with an apostrophe after "coatings".

    The coatings' surfaces = the surfaces of the coatings.

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    #3

    Re: singular or plural?

    As I check them in google, "coating surfaces" is more repeated than "coatings' surfaces". Is it a reliable criterion?

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    #4

    Re: singular or plural?

    I'd say "the surface coatings".

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    #5

    Re: singular or plural?

    Sentence 1 was my first choice, yes.

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    #6

    Re: singular or plural?

    1. But what's its reason? I think gramatically "coatings' surfaces" is the more correct option, because we have several coatings and several surfaces (both plural) and "coating" couldn't play a role of an adjective here in "coating surfaces" it should be pluralized.
    How do you think my friend?
    2. Second of all, I've read that only if the owner is a human we could use " 's " but here "coating" is not a human so I think we should say "surfaces of coatings" or simply "coatings surfaces" and I think that "coatings' surfaces" is wrong. However I was faced with such uses several times so far. I don't know whether the grammatical point mentioned is wright or not.
    Last edited by atabitaraf; 22-Jun-2011 at 21:46.

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    #7

    Re: singular or plural?

    It's difficult (for me) to explain why but this refers to a lot of things.

    For example:

    The paint which is used on cars is known as "car paint", not "cars' paint".
    The bricks used to build houses are called "housebricks".
    The hair on the outside of cats is "cat hair" not "cats' hair".

    In your example, the surfaces become a sort of singular entity in their own right but, for some reason, the coatings do not!

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    #8

    Re: singular or plural?

    My question is that: Must we use "apostrophe s" just for humans? or we can use it for objects too?
    Your examples: "cat hair" and "car paint" are reasonable as we say "table leg" because car, cat and table are not humans and for objects we shouldn't use "apostrophe s" for showing possession.
    Dubious Rule: for humans we can use "apostrophe s" for showing possession but for objects we shoud say "s.th of s.th" or "s.th s.th" without "apostrophe s" so we say:
    eg1. John's book
    eg2. The door of the house
    eg3. The house door

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