Valtteri Bottas joins Lewis Hamilton in 'dream' Mercedes move

I think it sounds well as

Valtteri Bottas joins Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes' 'dream' move


Sheet Metal Cutting

In this also, I think it sounds well when we say

Metal Sheet Cutting

Do these look perfectly sound to others?

2 Answers 2


No: your suggested alternants are incorrect:

[1] Valtteri Bottas joins Lewis Hamilton in 'dream' Mercedes move.

[2] Valtteri Bottas joins Lewis Hamilton in Mercedes 'dream' move.

[1] is the correct choice, since it is the "Mercedes move" that is a dream (for Bottas), not just the "move".

Grammatically, "dream" is a noun here, not an adjective, and in both examples it is located before the item it is modifying. The difference between the two is that in (1) "dream" is modifying the nominal "Mercedes move" to form the larger NP "dream Mercedes move", while in [2] it is modifying just the noun "move".

[3] sheet metal cutting

[4] metal sheet cutting

[3] is the correct choice since the process involves the cutting of sheet metal, not the cutting of metal sheet. Grammatically, "cutting" could be either a noun ("Occasional sheet metal cutting is still seen") or a verb ("Ed was dangerously sheet metal cutting") depending on context. "Sheet metal" is a noun phrase where the noun "sheet" is modifying the noun "metal" to form the nominal "sheet metal". As a noun, "cutting" is then used to postmodify the nominal "sheet metal" to form the larger NP "sheet metal cutting".

  • Ed was dangerously sheet metal cutting. It should be as Ed was cutting dangerously sheet metal, shouldn't it? Also Metal Sheet should not be equivalent to sheet metal?
    – Anubhav
    Jan 30, 2017 at 13:55
  • 1
    No, "dangerously" is an adverb; it can't modify noun phrases like "sheet metal". But it can modify verb phrases like "sheet metal cutting", where it occurs at the beginning. "Metal sheet" and "sheet metal" have different meanings. The former could be any kind of metal in sheets, whereas "sheet metal" describes a particular kind of metal: link.
    – BillJ
    Jan 30, 2017 at 14:07

Technically, these aren't actual adjectives but rather compound nouns. A compound noun is where you stick two (or more) nouns together to form a new noun. related to both but often having a subtly different meaning. The classic example is "tooth paste", a "paste" (of various substances) to clean "teeth".

The order of the words in the compound is important. The first term modifies, the second, the pair of these modify the third, and so on. So you are right that "Mercedes dream move" sounds better than "dream Mercedes move", because it's a move that is a "dream" for Mercedes.

However, "sheet metal cutting" is not the same as "metal sheet cutting". "Sheet metal" is a specific, known shape of manufactured metal, and so it sounds more appropriate to say that a business cuts sheet metal, rather than the generic and non-specific metal sheets.

I don't think there is any rule or overarching guide for this. It's just additional vocabulary that you pick up, one by one, and also common practice you learn by imitation.

Side note: A business or industry that cuts sheet metal can be described as a "Sheet Metal Cutting" business. However a machine (or a person) that cuts sheet metal is a "Sheet Metal Cutter".

  • 2
    +1 But I think the 'Mercedes' piece is to be understood as a move by Mercedes (Mercedes move) which is a 'dream' for Bottas: dream is in quotes, and in fact Bottas is quoted as saying that this move is 'dream come true'. Jan 29, 2017 at 12:33

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