Is there a rule to show possession without using apostrophe ( ‘s ) or ( of ). There are expressions such “car tyre”, “ windshield wipers”, “bike rack” or “quality control process” all these examples don’t have any “’s” or “of”. According to the above mentioned examples, if we put one noun before the other we get possession for the first noun, is it correct?

2 Answers 2


They are known as attributive nouns or noun adjuncts. As joiedevivre said, they don't show possession.

noun adjunct:

a noun that occurs before and modifies another noun, as toy in toy store or tour in tour group.


Using a noun string as an adjectival modifier is very subtly different from a possessive. A "bike rack" doesn't belong to bikes; it's a rack for bikes. "Windshield wipers" don't belong to the windshield, they are wipers for windshields. The "quality-control" process doesn't belong to quality control, people use it to perform quality control.

You can use a lot of nouns as adjectives for other nouns, but it doesn't imply possession when you do. It usually implies some other relationship. I hope that helps.

  • Thank you fro clarification. I didn't know about "adjectival modifier" or "attributive nouns" and "noun adjuncts" as Maulik wrote. I was guessing that "possession" is not the right gramatical term but I just didn't know any other that could be related to that example. You really helped. Thanks.
    – Pavel P
    Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 5:42

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