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Singular and plural. Nouns used as adjectives

Interuniversity Style Guide

    The content of these guidelines is taken from the Vives University Network’s Interuniversity Style Guide for Writing Institutional Texts, an interuniversity project in which the UPC participated with the support of the Secretariat for Universities and Research of the Government of Catalonia.

     

    Normal use

      • Nouns used as adjectives are rarely used in their plural form.

        Mr Martorell presented the guidelines for mobility programmes.
        Mr Martorell presented the mobility programme guidelines.

    • However, where a singular would be confusing, the plural is used. Note these examples: admissions office, materials science, genomics data.
      • When nouns whose meaning is different in singular and plural are used as adjectives (clothes, sports, customs, accounts, arms, etc.), they should be used appropriately.

        This report has also been sent to the accounts department.

     

    Areas of knowledge as adjectives

      • When the plural names of disciplines are used as adjectives, they maintain their plural form. Therefore, economic and economics used as an adjective have two different meanings.

        The Department is beginning a series of CPD courses for its economics lecturers.
        Attaining sufficient economic support is a vital aspect of university governance.