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    #1

    Noun + noun structures

    Look at this section of Michael Swan's book:

    In noun+noun structures, the first noun is normally singular in form even if it has a plural meaning.


    A shoe shop (= a shop that sells shoes)
    A tooth brush (=a brush for teeth)
    A ticket office (= an office that sells tickets)
    Trouser pockets(= pockets in trousers)

    Some nouns are plural in this structure. These include nouns which have no singular form (like clothes), nouns which are not used in singular with the same meaning (like customs), and some nouns which are more often used in the plural than in the singular (like savings). In some cases, e.g. antique(s), drug(s), usage is divided, and both singular and plural forms are found. In general, plurals are becoming more common in this structure. Examples:

    a clothes shop
    a glasses case
    a customs officer
    arms control
    a savings account
    the accounts department
    the sales department
    the outpatients department (of a hospital)
    a drinks cabinet
    a goods train (British English)
    a sports car
    a greeting(s) card
    an antique(s) dealer/shop
    the drug(s) problem
    the arrival(s) hall (at an airport)

    Note also that singular nouns ending in -ics can be used before other nouns.

    athletics training
    an economics degree

    We use the plurals men and women to modify plural nouns when they have a 'subject' meaning; man and woman are used to express an 'object' meaning. Compare:

    men drivers (=men who drive)
    women pilots (=women who fly planes)
    man-eaters (=lions or tigers that eat people)
    Woman-haters (= people who hate women)

    My questions are:
    1- Woman haters (One who hates woman). So why shouldn't that be women haters(plural)? I can understand if it is woman hater (A person who hates a woman)
    Can you clarify this one for me please? Never heard anyone say that. I have always heard people say: He is a misogynist. (one who hates women)

    2- What about the SHOE SHOP. I didn't get this one either. (I'm going to the shoe shop. We never say I am going to the shoes shop)



  1. The Maltese Falcon's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Noun + noun structures

    Perhaps it doesn't make sense, but it is the rule. :) The above explanation is good; it's best to just learn the concept and use it, because it's the normal way English is spoken. The reason for the construction might have been something that made sense in language a long time ago, but doesn't anymore. Nevertheless, the form remains.

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    #3

    Re: Noun + noun structures

    But I have heard "women haters".
    Is it completely wrong? I'd be much obliged if you elaborate on the reason a bit more.
    Last edited by Freeguy; 25-Apr-2014 at 10:51.

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    #4

    Re: Noun + noun structures

    Please! I need your explanations

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    #5

    Re: Noun + noun structures

    I wouldn't call it completely wrong, but "man/woman" is more common than "men/women" in that use. The word itself implies that more than one man/woman is intended. Were it only one, this construction would not be used.

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    #6

    Re: Noun + noun structures

    Quote Originally Posted by Freeguy View Post
    1- Woman haters (One who hates woman). So why shouldn't that be women haters(plural)? I can understand if it is woman hater (A person who hates a woman)
    I am not a teacher.

    Good, so a woman hater is a hater. The plural of hater is haters.

    If a person who hates a woman is a woman hater then two people who hate women are woman haters.

    Woman is the object of the hate exactly as Swan says.

    Women haters would strictly speaking be women who hate something.

    So yes, women haters is wrong but everyone would probably understand.

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