5

I wrote:

... and the leaf nodes are either labelled with a terminal (anchor) or a non-terminal symbol, which are marked with the substitution marker.

Vs.

... and the leaf nodes are either labelled with terminals (anchor) or non-terminal symbols, which are marked with the substitution marker.

In fact each node is marked either with a single terminal or a single non-terminal. But when I use them as plural, I don't know what to use.

3

In your example, the phrasing

terminals or non-terminal symbols

is slightly incorrect, since you are possibly mixing the adjective "terminal" with the modified noun "symbols". The full phrase is

terminal symbols or non-terminal symbols

so, the correct phrasing would be

terminal or non-terminal symbols (this is the multiple)
a terminal or a non-terminal symbol (this is the singular)

Which one gets used will depend whether there are multiple symbols attached to each node.

  • As I mentioned in the question, each node gets just one terminal or non-terminal. – Ahmad Aug 16 '16 at 12:11
  • You might make it explicit that each node gets one symbol by saying each leaf node is marked with a terminal or a non-terminal symbol. – djna Aug 16 '16 at 12:21
  • "Terminal" is sometimes nominalized as short for "terminal node", so would be acceptable, but it is clearer when spelled out more fully as suggested. – Nathan Tuggy Aug 16 '16 at 22:10

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