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3 Comments

  • Usually, adjectives have no plural. I’d love to hear your comments on the use of the plural in nouns that occupy adjective positions as in the examples:

    angry gay rights groups
    primary places shortage

    In comparison with
    lower cracked egg losses, where the noun egg is in the singular.

  • Ana: This is a good point. I guess ‘gay rights’ is always plural, unlike say ‘human rights’. But then ‘trousers’ is always plural (in its peculiar way) – yet you have a ‘trouser leg’ or a ‘trouser pocket’. And you could also say ‘primary place shortage’ – that would be equally acceptable.

    And exactly – ‘cracked-eggs losses’ would be odd, even wrong. I guess that the norm is to use the singular form, e.g ‘shark attack’ not ‘sharks attack’. But if the noun is only used in the plural to start with, then you sometimes have a degree of choice. Except with the trousers. So there is no easy answer – I’ll have to think about it! Maybe sometimes the avoidance of ambiguity comes into it, especially in headlines.