Adjectives and nouns as adjectives

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Adjectives and nouns as adjectives

Post by toedrika »

Good morning everyone!

My name is Antoine Ghannoum. I am new in this forum and I am pleased to communicate with you!

Could you please help me out in this grammar question about adjectives (or modifiers) before two nouns?

"Old newspaper seller": adjective + noun + noun. Which is old: The seller or newspapers? Why?

"Old English expressions": adjective + noun + noun. Is it "expressions of old English", or "old expressions of English"?

In "World Health Organisation" noun + noun + noun. It is the world organization of health, rather than the organization of world health. This is clear from the French translation "Organisation mondiale de la Santé".

Thank you ! Kind regards
Antoine Ghannoum
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Re: Adjectives and nouns as adjectives

Post by Alan »

These matters are determined by sense and context rather than by any specific set of rules.

In, for example, the phrase 'Old English expressions', 'old' could indeed refer either to the historical form of the language or the expressions themselves.