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  1. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #1

    Question How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attribute?

    Some phrases containing adjectives or nouns as attributes puzzle me!

    For example, we say "science facilities", "science lecture" but "scientific prize", "scientific experiment". Why?

    Another example, we say "chemistry teacher" but "chemical lab". Why?

    Are there some rules to follow when deciding whether we use the adjective or noun form of a certain word to act as the attribute?

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by roseriver1012; 28-Sep-2012 at 03:43.

  2. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib


  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib

    Quote Originally Posted by roseriver1012 View Post
    Some phrases containing adjectives or nouns as attributes puzzle me!

    For example, we say "science facilities", "science lecture" but "scientific prize", "scientific experiment". Why? "science prize" is OK. "science experiment is also used.

    Another example, we say "chemistry teacher" but "chemical lab". Why? "chemistry lab" is OK.

    Are there some rules to follow when deciding whether we use the adjective or noun form of a certain word to act as the attribute?

    Thanks for your help!
    Bhai.

  4. roseriver1012's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    Bhai.

    So there are no rules for that? What about "scientific experiment" or "science experiment"? Can I say "chemical teacher"?

  5. Chicken Sandwich's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib

    NOT A TEACHER

    No, "chemical teacher" doesn't make much sense to me. A "chemistry teacher" teaches "chemistry." On the other hand, we do say "chemical engineer" and not (to my knowledge) "chemistry engineer." I'm afraid that there are no rules.

    "Scientific experiment" and "science experiment" are both possible.

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    #6

    Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib

    Quote Originally Posted by roseriver1012 View Post


    Are there some rules to follow when deciding whether we use the adjective or noun form of a certain word to act as the attribute?



    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello,

    Here are some thoughts (not "answers") to share with you:

    1. In the ancient days of the 1920's, an English gentleman named Henry Fowler wrote A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, which, I hear, was to help the growing middle class speak proper English.

    a. He was very upset that adjectives were being pushed to the side by nouns.

    i. For example, he said that there was no reason to refer to a "luxury hotel" instead of a "luxurious hotel."

    2. I was wondering whether that's the case of one of your examples.

    a. Thanks to Google books, I found these sentences from a scholarly book entitled Investigating Chemistry Lab Manuel by David Collins:

    "Accidents are common anywhere, and accidents in a chemical laboratory may have the potential of resulting in serious consequences. ... Although accidents can happen, you should not be afraid of the chemistry laboratory."

    Is it possible that "chemistry" has pushed "chemical" out of the way? Of course, "chemical" would be correct if you were referring to the "chemical [testing / analysis] laboratory."

    3. Bryan A. Garner in his A Dictionary of Modern American Usage (1998) says something interesting: sometimes one form is used by specialists; the other, by us ordinary people.

    a. Doctors might say "prostatic cancer"; ordinary folks might call it "prostate cancer."
    b. Grammarians might say "adjectival clause"; we ordinary folks, "adjective clause."

    4. Finally, I used to refer to "grammatical errors" until a teacher pointed out how ridiculous that is. How can an

    error (in English) be "grammatical"? So now I refer to "grammar errors."



    James

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    #7

    Smile Re: How can I tell the difference between an adjective and a noun using as the attrib

    Ah, very good question (I never gave it a thought! ) and also very good research answer, James! ;)

    Thank you very much for giving me such an insight.

    Newbie

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