I crossed a training center while walking that named as 'Scotland Police dog training centre'.

I know that "centre" is a noun in "Scotland Police dog training centre".

What about the other four words: Scotland, Police, dog, and training?

Which parts of speech do they indicate?

  • 1
    "Scotland", "police" and "dogs" are all nouns. "Training" is a verb.
    – BillJ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:30
  • @Peter I agree in "Scotland Police dogs training center" these are adjectives. Only "centre" is a noun.
    – user40875
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:47
  • @ Bill, could you explain why "training" is a verb in " Scotland Police dogs training center"? I think Peter is right "training" is an adjective in "Scotland Police dogs training center".
    – user40875
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:50
  • @Amn The OP asked for the parts of speech, i.e. noun/adjective/verb/adverb etc. "Training" is a participle and hence its part of speech must be verb.
    – BillJ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:56
  • 1
    @Amn Ah, I did wonder if that's what you meant. So we're looking at quite a complicated noun phrase in which nouns are modifying other nouns, and the verb "training" is modifying "centre". 'Modifier' is the key-word here, not 'adjective.
    – BillJ
    Sep 4, 2016 at 19:04

3 Answers 3


Scotland Police Dogs Training Centre

is what is known as a Noun Compound. English is full of noun compounds, which are formed by putting nouns together, in what seems like any order at all, to form multi-word phrases that behave like single nouns. Noun Compound is a mnemonic name, because it is itself a noun compound; it's composed of two nouns and means 'compound composed of nouns'.

Quite often -- as with this example -- there are no adjectives at all.

This may come as a shock to some people, but nouns, even proper nouns, can modify other nouns, and even adjectives. Plus, practically any English word can be used as a noun, verb, adjective, and adverb, so it doesn't often matter which part of speech the dictionary says it is.

Taking the example apart, it is composed of 3 constituents, and the second constituent itself has two constituents, and one of those also has two constituents.

  • [Scotland [[police dogs] training] centre]
    • Scotland
    • [[police dogs] training]
      • [police dogs]
        • police
        • dogs
      • training
    • centre

All the words are nouns; training can be considered a participle (hence a verb), but it can also be a noun, and in this case where all the other words are nouns, why should it be different?

Putting it back together, with as few noun compounds, and as many markers, as possible, we get

  • Centre for the Training of Dogs for Police in Scotland

which sounds a little strange because police dog is so close to being a single word.
If it were a single word, we'd get

  • Centre for the Training of Policedogs in Scotland
  • excellent, I appreciate your efforts.
    – user40875
    Sep 4, 2016 at 20:33
  • 1
    Do you find the plural dogs unusual? In these noun compounds aren't the adjectival nouns typically singular? e.g. Child Services. BTW, when I was a kid, we called German Shepherds "police-dogs".
    – TimR
    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:07
  • 3
    Two basic constituents actually, i.e. "Scotland Police" and "Dog Training Centre". The former is a proper name in its own right. The nominal "Scotland Police" is modifying the NP "Dog Training Centre".
    – BillJ
    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:13
  • 1
    Yes, @TRomano, I do find the plural unusual in compounds of this type; but not unknown.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 5, 2016 at 10:39
  • 1
    That's another possible parsing. Since I'm an American and have never been to Scotland, the phrase Scotland Police is not a fixed phrase to me, whereas police dog is. The thing about noun compounds is that you leave out all the markers and depend on context and traditions to fill them in for you. This is what leads to the difference between pony ride and snake bite. Sep 5, 2016 at 13:55

Scotland Police Dogs Training Centre

In this phrase, 'Scotland' modifies 'Police,' 'Police' modifies 'Dogs,' 'Dogs' modifies 'Training,' and 'Training' modifies 'Centre.'

'Scotland,' 'Police,' and 'Dogs' are nouns acting like adjectives. These are called noun adjuncts. Here's a nice article explaining it.

'Training' is a verb acting like an adjective. This is a use of the present participle.

  • I think Peter is right, all are adjectives except "centre".
    – user40875
    Sep 4, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    @Amn Sorry, wasn't thinking when I threw Training in with the nouns. Peter didn't say they were adjectives, peter said they were nouns used in the same manner as adjectives. If you mean function, they're still not adjectives, because words don't just change parts of speech at will. The function of nouns that acts in the same manner as adjectives is called the "noun adjunct," and the function of verbs that acts in the same manner as adjectives is called the "present participle."
    – j4eo
    Sep 4, 2016 at 19:06
  • no worries, so your answer is "Scotland","Police" and "dogs" are noun adjuncts. "training" is present participle and "centre" is a noun. Is it so?
    – user40875
    Sep 4, 2016 at 20:24
  • 2
    @Amn: The relevant Wikipedia page says English has analogous types of verbal nouns (truly verbal kinds – gerunds and infinitives – and deverbal nouns). Deverbal nouns may also be used attributively, as noun adjuncts, as in a swimming competition. So if this sort of terminology interests you, I think you should probably go for the obvious - they're all "noun adjunct" usages. Bear in mind that training here is an activity (same as golf, i.e. - a noun). Sep 5, 2016 at 0:18
  • 1
    "Training" is a VP; it is better to call it a 'modifier' than to say 'it is a verb acting as an adjective'. That is why we have the widely-used term 'modifier' in English grammar. VPs commonly modify nouns as in "a sleeping child", "the condemned man" etc. "Sleeping" and "condemned" are VPs as modifiers, not adjectives.
    – BillJ
    Sep 5, 2016 at 7:05

When you put two or more words together and they name a particular person, place, or thing, then you have created a proper, compound noun that ACTS as ONE single word.

One Proper noun: Scotland + common noun: police + common noun: dog, ETC.

Scotland Police Dog Training Center = a proper compound noun, and is one...word.


Welcome to the Five O'clock News here on Channel 285.

The Scotland Police Dog Training Center announced today that it will be giving away free puppies to the first twenty people who come to the centre on Wednesday morning, when it opens its doors at eight o'clock.

None of the words in the proper, compound noun modify any other word in the name. They are used as one word. How can one word modify itself?

"...the parts of a compound noun may be written as one word, as two or more words, or as a hyphenated word."--Warriner's.

prizefighter, newsstand, news room, sister-in-law, Belmont Square Memorial Hospital, The Prudential Building, etc.

All treated as one word.

It doesn't mean a proper noun, one word or compound, cannot act like an adjective to modify a noun:

The Yellow Cab Taxi Company car was totally demolished in the accident. Fortunately, the Yellow Cab taxi driver survived with minor injuries. A Yellow Cab spokesperson held a news conference about the accident at the company's headquarters.

John E. Warriner. Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition. Third Course. Liberty Edition. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt, Brace, and Jovanovich. 1986. 7.

Note: the topic of "hyphens" is another thing altogether with its own rules for all kinds of compound words--nouns, verbs, etc. These rules often apply to compounds not found in a dictionary.


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