Resources -> Learn English Grammar -> Nouns -> Noun as Adjective

Noun as Adjective

Sometimes in the English language, a noun is used to describe another noun; in other words, the first noun performs the function of an adjective. Look at the following examples:

Basketball coach– here the noun basketball is being used to describe the noun coach

Garment shop– here the noun garment is being used to describe the noun shop

Painting exhibition– here the noun painting is being used to describe the noun exhibition

In all the above examples, the first noun acts as an adjective.

Rules related to Nouns as Adjective

1. The ‘nouns as adjective’ always come first or before the second or main noun. Let’s see a few more examples:

A cricket bat

A soccer ball

A car race

A love story

2. In general, like adjectives, nouns being used as adjectives are used in the singular form, although in the case of certain words, like clothes, customs, sports, etc, an exception is made. For example:

Bathroom or bathrooms, and not bathsroom or bathsrooms

Badminton racket or badminton rackets, and not badmintons racket or badmintons rackets

In short, the plural form will always appear on the second noun only.

Some nouns are always written or spoken in the plural forms, but we generally treat them as a singular form. For example:

A billiards player

A news editor

Some nouns are always treated in the plural forms when used as an adjective. For example:

Sports museum

Clothes outlet

Accounts manager

3. Multiple nouns can also be used as adjectives. For example:

School cricket team coach

Motor production cost

Child health care research centre

4. We can also use a true adjective before nouns as adjective. For example::

Famous Indian cricket player

Cute coffee mug

Delectable Chinese cuisine

Honest school teacher

Increasing air pollution