Helicopter crash? But ‘helicopter’ is a noun…

In the Question Time series, we discuss your language-related questions and problems.

Talking about the way one of her comments was corrected, Blandine asked:

But what about “helicopter crash”? I wanted to write it but I thought that helicopter is a noun and not an adjective.

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Blandine L
Blandine L (@blandine)
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Learner
4 years ago

Thank you very much for this very clear explanation.

Delaram F
Delaram F (@delaram)
Explorer
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Learner
4 years ago

Can we freely make compound nouns? Is there any rule to obey?

P H
Reply to  Delaram F
4 years ago

Your question is too general. I tell you what, why don’t you go ahead and “freely make” a few compound nouns and I’ll tell you what I think of them.

Delaram F
Delaram F (@delaram)
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Reply to  P H
4 years ago

Thank you. Here are some examples:

The students number has increased this year.
The vehicle speed was higher than the limit set for this road.
We should know the exact room dimensions.
One of this method advantages is its ease of use.
The river water speed was measured.
The cake top layer thickness should be less than 1 cm.
The scientists have investigated the ozone layer thickness effect on the global warming.

P H
Reply to  Delaram F
4 years ago

Here is what I think of your sentences: The students number has increased this year. I think it is much more common to say “the number of students” or “student numbers”. The vehicle speed was higher than the limit set for this road. This sounds correct to me We should know the exact room dimensions. Sound correct to me, but I feel “the dimensions of the room” would be more common. One of this method advantages is its ease of use. This doesn’t feel right. I would either say “this method’s advantages” or “the advantages of this method”. And again,… Read more »

Delaram F
Delaram F (@delaram)
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Reply to  P H
4 years ago

Thank you very much.

So I conclude that I must use my common sense , and to make my common sense reliable I should study English texts more and more. Meanwhile, to be on the safe side it’s better to use “of” between the nouns instead of making compound nouns that I haven’t heard before.

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