Noun adjunct
In grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, a noun adjunct or attributive noun or noun premodifier is a noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

 that modifies
Grammatical modifier
In grammar, a modifier is an optional element in phrase structure or clause structure; the removal of the modifier typically doesn't affect the grammaticality of the sentence....

 another noun and is optional — meaning that it can be removed without changing the grammar of the sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

; it is a noun functioning as an adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

. For example, in the phrase "chicken soup" the noun adjunct "chicken" modifies the noun "soup". It is irrelevant whether the resulting compound noun is spelled in one or two parts. "Field" is a noun adjunct in both "field player" and "fieldhouse".

Related concepts

Adjectival noun
Adjectival noun (noun)
An adjectival noun refers to an adjective that functions as a noun. English examples include "the other", "the True", "the Irish", and "the rich and the poor".- Related concepts :...

is a term that was formerly synonymous with noun adjunct but is now usually used to mean an adjective used as a noun (i.e., the opposite process, as in "the Irish" (= Irish people)). Japanese adjectival nouns behave similarly to English noun adjuctions.


Noun adjuncts were traditionally mostly singular (e.g., "trouser press") except when there were lexical restrictions (e.g., "arms race"), but there is a recent trend towards more use of plural ones, especially in UK English. Many of these can also be and/or were originally interpreted and spelled as plural possessives (e.g., "chemicals' agency", "writers' conference", "Rangers' hockey game"), but they are now often written without the apostrophe, although this is criticised by some authorities.

Fowler's Modern English Usage
Fowler's Modern English Usage
A Dictionary of Modern English Usage , by Henry Watson Fowler , is a style guide to British English usage, pronunciation, and writing...

 states in the section "POSSESSIVE PUZZLES":
"6. Five years' imprisonment, Three weeks' holiday, etc. Years and weeks may be treated as possessives and given an apostrophe or as adjectival nouns without one. The former is perhaps better, as to conform to what is inevitable in the singular — a year's imprisonment, a fortnight's holiday."

See also

  • Adjective
    In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

  • Adjunct (grammar)
    Adjunct (grammar)
    In linguistics, an adjunct is an optional, or structurally dispensable, part of a sentence that, when removed, will not affect the remainder of the sentence except to discard from it some auxiliary information...

  • Compound noun
  • Gerund
    In linguistics* As applied to English, it refers to the usage of a verb as a noun ....

  • Participle
    In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

  • Attributive verb
    Attributive verb
    In grammar, an attributive verb is a verb which modifies a noun as an attributive, rather than expressing an independent idea as a predicate....

External links

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