ON THE ATTRIBUTIVE NOUN IN ENGLISH Paul Rastall The standardly expressed rule of English that an attributive noun is Singular, unless no Singular noun exists, is now false. Modern English admits both Singular and plural attributive count nouns. The selection of the number of the attributive noun depends on the sense to be conveyed. This is a proof, among others, that constructions of the ([attributive noun] + noun) type are syntactic rather than morphological. The well-known Standard treatments of the attributive noun in English are becoming out of date because of chariges in the language. Thomson and Martinet teil us in their Practical English Grammar (p. 13), for example, that in the case of expressions such äs the walls of the town, the roof of the church, the keys of the car, etc. "it is often possible to replace noun l + OF + noun 2 by noun 2 + noun l in that order" and thus we get, the town walls, the church roof, the car keys, etc.. They comment, "the first noun becomes a sort of adjective and is not made plural: the roof s of the churches = the church roofs". The rule that the
IRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching – de Gruyter
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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