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Please have a look at the below question.

Which is correct?

* Professor Baily asked his students to write _____________________.

(a) a paper of five pages

(b) a five pages paper

(c) a five paper pages

(d) a five pages papers

(c) & (d) are wrong because "papers" is impossible.

The problem happens with (a) & (b)

I think (a) seems better, but I don't know why (b) is wrong.

It also seems OK with me.

What do you think of it?
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Comments  
"A five pages paper" is definitely wrong, but I can't for the life of me recall a sensible explanation. I just remember the form. At least it's consistent:

a sixteen-foot ladder
a five-mile walk
a three-day weekend
a good ten-cent cigar
Three dollar a gallon gasoline
a twenty-five story building
a two-week assignment
a three-hour tour (Gilligan's Island)

I guess we treat legs differently:

a one-legged man
a three-legged dog
a four-legged table

with wheels, it's optional:

a two-wheel / two-wheeled carriage
a three-wheel / three-wheeled motorcycle

a three-cornered hat
The only natural choice is not listed: A five-page paper.
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i guest u r a chinese. english test in chinese are all things of this kind. 
"a five-page paper", i think this one is better.
Unfortunately, it wasn't one of the choices.
Thanks everyone for helping me to solve a tricky grammer problem.

Now I think I got the answer.

Don't use plural if it is used as an adjective.

Thanks again.
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Stenka25Thanks everyone for helping me to solve a tricky grammer problem.

Now I think I got the answer.

Don't use plural if it is used as an adjective.

Thanks again.

No no! That's not the message. You can have plural nouns with adjectives. Three yelllow birds, two fuzzy caterpillars.

A paper of five pages.

One paper. It is made up of five pages.

It's the only one that fits, but a natuve would almost never say it that way.

Hi, Barbara.

How about "a five-paged paper/report"? Is it natural?
Stenka25 Don't use plural if it is used as an adjective.
Perhaps as a rule of thumb, you could say, "When the order is number,+ unit of measure,+ noun, use a singular unit." (I'm assuming we can use "page" as a unit of measure when describing term papers.)
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