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Autor:  Josi
E-mail:  não-disponível
Data:  22/DEZ/2014 9:41 AM
Assunto:  KID'S/ KIDS'
Mensagem:  About the occurrence of plural adjectives in English:

A correspondent writes to ask why we say a drinks cabinet and not a drink cabinet, given that people use the singular form of nouns when they function as adjectives - a price list, a shoe box, and so on - even if the entities involved are more than one. He adds: 'As a teacher, I have always taught the rule that there are no plural adjectives in English - the big men, the young ladies, etc. - and therefore when a noun acts as an adjective it should not take an s.'

It's true that attributive nouns are normally neutral with respect to number; so we say Toothpaste protects against tooth decay, even though we're talking about all our teeth, I sat in an armchair, even though the chair has two arms, and a five-pound note, a three-year-old child, and so on, even though in postmodifying position the expressions would be plural - a child of three years, a note worth five pounds. But there are several kinds of exception, which are very common in British English and unusual in American English.

When people talk about a concept that is an institution or organization, the tendency is to keep the plural form, and this is especially so when there's a semantic contrast with the singular form:

an examinations committee
a prints and drawings exhibition
the heavy chemicals industry
the Obscene Publications Act
an arts degree [vs an art degree]
a careers administrator [someone who looks after careers in an institution] vs a career administrator [someone who has gone in for administration as a career]

The plural is also likely when there's a contrast between generic ('kinds of') and specific meanings. This is where drinks comes in, for a drinks cabinet means 'a cabinet in which various kinds of drink are to be found'. Other examples are entertainments listing and savings bank. And nouns which don't have a singular (in a particular sense) keep their ending:

clothes basket
arms race
Commons decision
honours degree
mains adaptor
contents list

Stylistic factors are also involved. Newspaper headlines in particular like to use adjectives attributively, as it saves space. So we encounter such headlines as:

Strikes issue back on the table
Recordings compromise reached

There's quite a bit of individual variation, though:

grassroot(s) level
saving(s) account
system(s) analyst
wage(s) freeze
communication(s) network
archive(s) administrator

And, actually, drinks cabinet is a further example, with some firms advertising drink cabinets these days (as a Google search quickly shows). It's an interesting area of language change, especially with American English usage influencing British English.

SOURCE: http://david-crystal.blogspot.com.br/2010/05/on-plural-adjectives.html

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Índice de mensagens

 English Made in Brazil -- English, Portuguese, & contrastive linguistics
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Louise  17/DEZ/2014, 2:58 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Teacher  18/DEZ/2014, 1:35 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  PPAULO  19/DEZ/2014, 12:15 AM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Louise  19/DEZ/2014, 3:22 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  PPAULO  20/DEZ/2014, 12:36 AM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  PPAULO  20/DEZ/2014, 12:42 AM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Teacher  21/DEZ/2014, 5:21 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Renan  21/DEZ/2014, 11:39 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  CRS  22/DEZ/2014, 12:22 AM
 KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Josi  22/DEZ/2014, 9:41 AM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Josi  22/DEZ/2014, 9:55 AM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  PPAULO  23/DEZ/2014, 2:07 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Teacher  23/DEZ/2014, 10:20 PM
KID'S/ KIDS'  –  Thomas/USA  30/DEZ/2014, 12:45 AM

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