So, we were given this question in our exam and we were supposed to choose the word or phrase that was incorrect in the sentence,

The latest edition of an awards winning student newspaper has been scrapped after a threat of legal action.

Options were,

a) latest b) an c) awards winning d) scrapped

My question simply is this that suppose some student won more than one awards then shouldn't it be "awards winning student"? If not then why? Anyone who can tell what rule is followed here?

  • Are you asking why a box that holds many toys is called a "toy box" instead of a "toys box"? Or why a brush that cleans many teeth is called a toothbrush instead of a teethbrush? Jul 4, 2017 at 15:18
  • @GaryBotnovcan Well, that's one fascinating example you just gave there lol :o I, however, have already gotten my answer but still, I think "award winning" is kind of different thing from a "toy box" or "toothbrush", no? :P Jul 5, 2017 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


This pattern:

{noun} + -ing form of the verb

used adjectivally, has {noun} in the singular:

beer-drinking buddy

wood-eating insect

tree-climbing vine

award-winning film

risk-taking venture

penny-pinching miser

ear-piercing shriek

flesh-eating tiger


The correct adjective is "award-winning" - having won an award or awards

It's a compound adjective. Compound adjectives are made up of two or more words linked together by a hyphen (or hyphens) to show they are part of the same adjective. Compound adjectives are made up of a noun + an adjective, a noun + a participle, or an adjective + a participle. Many compound adjectives should be hyphenated. The noun should be singular.

"award-winning" is made up of a noun "award" and a present participle "winning".

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