Institutional or institution research

Status
Not open for further replies.

doingresearch

Junior Member
Joined
May 20, 2010
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
Thai
Home Country
Thailand
Current Location
Germany
Dear all,
I am always confused how adjectives stemming from nouns can be used, for example, studying or study plan, institutional or institution research, instruction or instructional materials, any rules suggested?
Many thanks.
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
I don't think there are rules as such. It is more a process that occurs (or sometimes fails to occur) spontaneously. When nouns begin to be used as modifiers, they normally require modification. You cannot yet say institution research. You must use institutional. But note that you can say research institution where once you would probably have needed to say institution for research.

As an adjectival usage becomes more common, there is a tendency for the modification to be dropped. I still strongly prefer instructional materials, but I believe the process has progressed to the point that some people would use and others accept instruction materials at least in AmE.

If the adjectival usage becomes sufficiently common the modification often disappears entirely, and the noun form acquires an adjectival meaning in addition to its meaning as a noun. Countless examples can be found in any dictionary.
 

konungursvia

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
English for centuries has loved joining nouns together, which is part of its Germanic heritage. But this doesn't mean it always works.

One solution for a learner: Try google with quotes "institution research" and now try it with another alternative "institutional research" and you will see dramatic differences in the numbers of documents containing the alternatives.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top