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By: Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


Nouns as Modifiers Noun can be used to another noun: NOUN - NOUN

•This car is for sports driving. •The Jeep has a drive(train) that moves all four wheels.

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


•It is a sports car. •It has four-wheel drive. (a feature of the car)


In English we can put two nouns together. The first noun is used as an adjective to modify the second noun and is called a noun adjunct. The first noun is almost always singular because it follows the rule for adjectives, which do not have plural forms in English. N1 N2 can mean that: 1. N1 is a kind of N2 (a grammar book is a kind of book) 2. N1 is an object of an implied verb (an apple tree is a tree that produces apples)

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


It is important to understand that N2 is the thing and N1 is the kind or type: • • •

a rose bush is a bush a wrist watch is a watch computer paper is paper

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


When a noun is used as a modifier, it is in its singular form. The soup has vegetables in it: It is vegetable soup. The building has offices in it: It is an office building.

office modifies building. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar

vegetable modifies soup. 5

Examples: My mother planted a rose bush in the garden. I bought a new table lamp. Bobby takes the school bus to school. The school ordered fifty new grammar books. That man makes bird cages. Mrs. Taylor bought some new baby clothes.

N1 is singular, even if the phrase is plural.

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


When a noun used as a modifier is combined with a number expression, the noun is singular and a hyphen (-) is used. CORRECT


She has a five-year-old son.



She has a five years old son.. Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


We can use a number with N1 to make a compound adjective. Since the number and noun make one unit, we use a hyphen to join them. Note that N1 remains singular because it is being used as an adjective. Examples:

a three-car garage a ten-speed bicycle a twenty-dollar bill

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


If we use a number to refer to the second noun (how many), we do not use a hyphen: Examples:

two grammar books five rose bushes

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


We can use a number to refer to the second noun (how many) and a number with the first noun (compound adjective). In that case, there is no hyphen after the first number, but the second number is still used with a hyphen because it forms a compound adjective. Examples: two ten-dollar bills four three-bedroom homes

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


Hyphens are used to avoid ambiguity for the reader. NO HYPHEN


•Two footstools sold •Two-foot stools sold for a half-million dollars. for a half-million dollars.

two footstools

Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


two-foot stools



It was a two-hour test.



It was a two hours test.


Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


Dr. Shadia Y. Banjar


Microsoft PowerPoint - Copy of NOUNS AS