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Hi people! I'm quite confused about the form the first element in a compound noun should take. At first, I also confused possession with this issue, though now it seems a whole lot clearer!

I'd appreciate it if you could have a look at these sentences (which were written by one of my students) and suggest any corrections you'd make:

1. Lucky Strike, an old American cigarettes brand, is a classic brand. Should we say "cigarettes brand" or "cigarette brand"? Whichever your choice, can you exlplain why?

2. Microsoft logo changed many times during last 20 years. Microsoft's logo (I think this one is possessive, since the logo belongs in a way to Microsoft) has changed (should I use Present Perfet or is Simple Past just as fine?) many times during the last 20 years.

3. Computer brand leaders are making big campaigns to avoid copyright abuse. I'm not sure what's the problem I find in the first phrase "computer brand leaders". I just feel there's something missing there. A hyphen perhaps? Or is it a compound noun composed of three elements? Is "making" OK? Or should we say "launching"/ "doing"?

4. Starwars movie series have the biggest merchandise in the history of cinema. Star Wars movie series have... I yhink this one's OK. "Star Wars" is the name of the film and, therefore, a unit, but is it correct if I say thet I see this construction as "Star" modifies "Wars", which, in turn, modifies "movies", which modifies "series". Is this another huge compound noun?

5. Nike and Reebok are the most commons counterfeiter victims in the sport shoes market. Nike and Reebok are the most common counterfeiting... (I know that "counterfeiting" must be performed by "counterfeiters", but I view Nike and Reebok more as victims of the activity, i.e, "counterfeiting" than otherwise. Anyway, if we wrote counterfeiter victims souldn't it be "counterfeiters' victims") However, of all the options I prefer "the most common victims of counterfeiting"... victims in the sports shoes market. I'd say "sports shoes" and I think this is another example of a big compound noun, as with the "Star Wars" example.

6. Apple computers totally changes its corporate strategy when Steve Jobs was hired. "Apple computers": this is OK, since it refers to the computers whose brand is "Apple", but what if I wanted to use the possessive here, referring to the computers owned by the company "Apple". Anyway, how would you phrase it? Obviously, "changes" needs to be transformed into "changed".

How would you expain compound nouns as different from possessive constructions? Compound nouns specify whereas possesives denote ownership?

Thanks a lot!

Mara.
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You would get better responses if you asked one question at a time, Mara. Few of us have time to sit down and go through such a list (or at least, I seldom do).
You' re right MM! The thing is that, as most of these sentences deal with a similar topic (though not all, that's true), I thought it'd be a whole lot better if I posed my question all at once. If not, I'd have to start a lot of threads and I believed this to be much more bothersome for you. If that's not the case, then next time, I'll do it. Anyway, if you read my post, you'll realize that almost all of my questions are about the same topic.Emotion: smile

Thanks for the comment and the advice! Emotion: smile

Regards,

Mara.
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1. Lucky Strike, an old American cigarettes brand, is a classic brand. Should we say "cigarettes brand" or "cigarette brand"? Whichever your choice, can you exlplain why?

I'd put "cigarette" in the singular because bulk goods are generally expressed as a collective singular.

2. Microsoft logo changed many times during last 20 years. Microsoft's logo (I think this one is possessive, since the logo belongs in a way to Microsoft) has changed (should I use Present Perfet or is Simple Past just as fine?) many times during the last 20 years.
Use "has changed". "Changed" implies an unconnected sequence of many changes while "has changed" says that the current Microsoft logo is the latest of many changes -- and that the company still exists at all.

3. Computer brand leaders are making big campaigns to avoid copyright abuse. I'm not sure what's the problem I find in the first phrase "computer brand leaders". I just feel there's something missing there. A hyphen perhaps? Or is it a compound noun composed of three elements? Is "making" OK? Or should we say "launching"/ "doing"?
It should be "computer-brand leaders" because "computer-brand" is a compound adjective. "Making" definitely sounds odd -- revise. "Are introducing" is the best I can think off of the top of my head.

4. Starwars movie series have the biggest merchandise in the history of cinema. Star Wars movie series have... I yhink this one's OK. "Star Wars" is the name of the film and, therefore, a unit, but is it correct if I say thet I see this construction as "Star" modifies "Wars", which, in turn, modifies "movies", which modifies "series". Is this another huge compound noun?
As written, the sentence says that Star Wars merchandise is the physically largest of all in the history of ciinema! The "movie series" is understood so it can be dropped (that is, the reader isn't going to identify Star Wars with anything but the series). Therefore we can get the much more managable "Star Wars' merchandise is the highest-selling in all of cinema" or something like that. Whether the adjective would be "Star-Wars", I don't know", but the possessive (as used in the example) works just as well. Compound noun rules are tricky and nobody really follows them anyway.

5. Nike and Reebok are the most commons counterfeiter victims in the sport shoes market. Nike and Reebok are the most common counterfeiting... (I know that "counterfeiting" must be performed by "counterfeiters", but I view Nike and Reebok more as victims of the activity, i.e, "counterfeiting" than otherwise. Anyway, if we wrote counterfeiter victims souldn't it be "counterfeiters' victims") However, of all the options I prefer "the most common victims of counterfeiting"... victims in the sports shoes market. I'd say "sports shoes" and I think this is another example of a big compound noun, as with the "Star Wars" example.

The easy part first: it's "sports-shoes" because it modifies "market". The rest, I'm afraid, needs to be rewritten... "Nike and Reebok are the most counterfeited sports-shoes makers." Try rewriting; it can really do wonders.

6. Apple computers totally changes its corporate strategy when Steve Jobs was hired. "Apple computers": this is OK, since it refers to the computers whose brand is "Apple", but what if I wanted to use the possessive here, referring to the computers owned by the company "Apple". Anyway, how would you phrase it? Obviously, "changes" needs to be transformed into "changed".

Exactly as written, but capitalize the C in Computers. Apple Computers is a company; Apple computers is a brand of computers. Big difference.

The rest

Too tired to answer but this should be enough for now.

Thanks a lot!

Not a problem.
A detail: in 2., it should be "during the last 20 years"
Thanks a million to all of you!! You guys are great! Now, what do you think about sentence 2? Should it be Microsoft's logo or Microsoft logo?

And if somebody could answer my question "How would you expain compound nouns as different from possessive constructions? Compound nouns specify whereas possesives denote ownership?" I'd be really grateful! The thing is that sometimes I believe a lot of these constructions could be phrased either way and the meaning wouldn't change much. But I may be wrong at this point.

Compare:

1. the design features -------------------------------- the design's features

2. a family holiday ----------------------------------- a family's holiday

3. the chair back ------------------------------------- the back of the chair

I can see a difference in meaning between examples #1 and #2 and its counterparts. Something like: in the first column, "design" modifies "features", qualifying and restricting it: not ANY features, but DESIGN features, but at the same time makes reference to design features in GENERAL. In the right column, "the design's features" refer to "the features OF THIS/THAT particular design. It is more SPECIFIC. Do you agree on this?

Now, I can't see any difference between the two version in #3.

So, my question is: Do compound nouns retain a certain idea of possession?

Thanks a lot!

Mara.
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My opinion is that compound nouns do not reflect possession. The first noun is simply an adjective (and as an adjective it is singular: cigarette brand, shoe store, computer market).

As you say, in many cases either form will do, as your Microsoft logo /Microsoft's logo exemplifies-- the result is identical. I do not see any added specificity in the 's form, in any case. My experience here is that most Japanese students overuse the possessive form, where native speakers usually opt for the compound noun. It certainly saves punctuation doubts.

Incidentally, I am afraid that I would argue with much of Joe Totale's reasoning, but again I don't have time; just take that as a caution.
First question: You say "cigarette brand or brands" because the first noun is used as a noun modifier, that is, as an adjective, and adjectives in English are invariable. That's why we say a "five-star hotel" and not *a five-stars hotel.

Second question: Microsoft logo means "the logo that represents the company", and Microsoft's logo means "the logo that is the company's property.

Question 3: you can use a hypeh or not. I would use "computer-brand leaders" if you mean the leading companies that make computers.

Question 4: As "Star Wars" is the proper name of a movie, it should be spelled between quotation marks or with a different font, and then the other part of the phrase added. So the result would be "Star Wars" movie series or Star Wars movie series, or Star Wars movie series.

Question 5: Apple computers means computer that have been made by the Apple company. You won't say in English Apple's computers, unless you mean the computers that belong to the company. Now this company does not make computers for itself, but I'm sure it uses its own computer.

Question 6: a compound noun is a noun formed by the merging of two or more words that exist independently in the language in order to form a new concept. For example: brother, in, and law are joined together in one word to form brother-in-law, which means the brother of one's spouse. Compound nouns can be spelled in three different ways: in solid spelling, such as raindrop; or hyphenated, such as drop-out, or as separate units, such as bus stop.

Possessive nouns or possessive constructions are not related with compounds at all. English has a construction to indicate possession that is called by linguists "Germanic possessives". It is formed by adding 's to the noun that is possessed, and they do not form a compound noun because they do not form a new concept. For example, sun's rays means the beams of light shed by the sun, whereas the word moonlight forms a concept.
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I hope that Riglos is still with us--the last post on this thread was 3 years ago.
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