I've seen the following sentence in the book which teaches English as a corrected sentence. My question is why the word passenger -in the following sentence- is referred as a singular while almost never airliners isn't aimed for a singular passenger... therefore should it not be "passengers airliners"? In addition why there is not an indefinite article before the word 'long'?

"To fly big passenger airliners calls for long training and experience"

enter image description here

  • "duplicate" - are you serious? Oct 29 '16 at 21:01
  • Yes, it is the same question in every respect. Read the duplicate carefully. You ask about passenger(s), and the duplicate asks about office, salary, and product. Oct 29 '16 at 22:04
  • This method of determination whether a question is a duplicate or not, makes the place here so strict and inconvenient to ask here questions. I know that duplicate question is when someone sees someone else question and then copy it more or less. This is definitely not the case here. Anyway, where did you see there referring to the second question here about the article before the word passenger? Oct 29 '16 at 22:46
  • But in this case, your question is answered perfectly by the duplicate! It's nothing to do with copying anything. A little more searching on your part would have found it, but I do agree that our search facility is not always very efficient. Even so, you can see why we don't want many duplicates of elementary questions, can't you? (Your second question—about what article to use before an uncountable noun like training —is also duplicated in countless other questions.) Oct 29 '16 at 23:06

Because when a noun is used as a modifier of another noun, it is nearly always used in the singular, even though you might expect a plural. Eg

book club = club for discussing books

hand drier = drier for the hand

key safe = safe for keys.

There are exceptions, but that is the basic rule.


Passenger airliners is an example of a noun used as an adjective. It is not a noun in that phrase. Passenger airliners versus cargo airliners.

Training is an uncountable noun: Training is important if you want to become a teacher. No a.


Passenger can be a noun or an adjective. In this example, passenger is an adjective, modifying airliner. It doesn't take the plural.

The airliner is designed to carry passengers.

The airliner is intended for passenger service.

The first sentence above uses passenger as a noun, the second uses passenger as an adjective.

  • 1
    I don't agree that it is an adjective. It doesn't behave like one.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 29 '16 at 21:48
  • 1
    Of course it's not an adjective. It's a noun adjunct. Oct 29 '16 at 22:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .