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    #1

    Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Can we say that in compound phrases like 'gold watch' and 'golden watch' whenever we use the noun it refers to the material used. But whenever we use the adjective it refers to the color, covering, or any outer view and not the material?
    - a gold watch and the golden watch
    - a mud wall and a muddy wall

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Yes, you're right.
    A gold watch is made of gold.
    A mud wall is made of mud.

    Something that is "golden" is gold in color. Something that is "muddy" has mud on it. You will have to use some real-world knowledge to figure out whether it's the color, the appearance, the covering, etc.

    And sometimes you have to have real-world knowledge about the first, too. If I say I wore a "gold dress" to a formal party, you can be pretty sure my dress wasn't made of threads spun from gold. Although, if I were a celebrity or some rich princess, you might not be sure either way!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    And when it's important to distinguish, we can use things like gold-coloured.

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    #4

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Yes, you're right.
    A gold watch is made of gold.
    A mud wall is made of mud.

    Something that is "golden" is gold in color. Something that is "muddy" has mud on it. You will have to use some real-world knowledge to figure out whether it's the color, the appearance, the covering, etc.

    And sometimes you have to have real-world knowledge about the first, too. If I say I wore a "gold dress" to a formal party, you can be pretty sure my dress wasn't made of threads spun from gold. Although, if I were a celebrity or some rich princess, you might not be sure either way!
    What about 'electric teacher,' 'electricity teacher' and 'electrical teacher'
    What are the differences in meaning?

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    #5

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    The only one of those that makes sense to me is "electricity teacher" -- a teacher who teaches on the subject of electricity. This is the same as "French teacher" being a teacher who teaches French, not a teacher who IS French (in mosts contexts).

    I can't imagine what the others mean.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    The only one of those that makes sense to me is "electricity teacher" -- a teacher who teaches on the subject of electricity. This is the same as "French teacher" being a teacher who teaches French, not a teacher who IS French (in mosts contexts).

    I can't imagine what the others mean.
    So the rule is not correct.
    'gold coin' is a coin made of gold.
    'mud wall' is a wall made of mud.
    But 'electricity teacher' is not a teacher made of electricity.

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    #7

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    As I said (twice) you need to apply real-world knowledge.

    The "rule" applies when you're talking about a substance that could logically be the material the noun could be constructed of.

    The ice cream man sells ice cream; he is not made of ice cream. An ice-cream cake is a dessert made from ice cream.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #8

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    As I said (twice) you need to apply real-world knowledge.

    The "rule" applies when you're talking about a substance that could logically be the material the noun could be constructed of.

    The ice cream man sells ice cream; he is not made of ice cream. An ice-cream cake is a dessert made from ice cream.
    Pardon me. Because I know you answer student's questions so precisely I wondered why you didn't use hypen for 'ice cream man' but you used hyphen for 'ice-cream cake'. That may be for being adjective or noun too?
    If I ask too much please tell me to stop. It was the last one any way.
    Thank you so much teacher.
    ata

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    #9

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    Quote Originally Posted by atabitaraf View Post
    Pardon me. Because I know you answer student's questions so precisely I wondered why you didn't use a hypHen for 'ice cream man' but you used a hyphen [or just 'you used one for...'] for 'ice-cream cake'. That may Could that be for being because it's an adjective in one case and a noun in the otheror noun too?
    If I ask too much please tell me to stop. It was the last one anyway [one word].
    Thank you so much teacher.
    ata
    Barb has already mentioned real-world knowledge. Her real world isn't mine (US/UK) and in my world 'ice cream cakes' don't exist! So I don't know what ones's made of; ice cream, I guess, though I don't know how that would work.

    But for me an 'ice cream man' has no hyphen specifically because the man isn't made of ice cream (whereas a 'gingerbread man' is made of gingerbread {it's not a man though - but you know that, because of real-world knowledge}).

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 24-Jun-2012 at 20:07. Reason: Added link

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    #10

    Re: Adjectives and nouns in compound phrases

    I really want there to be an ice cream man actually made of ice cream!

    And for BobK, this is an ice cream cake!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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