I was reading an editorial in 'The Hindu' and I came across a phrase in the headline:

A difficult campaign: on the Pakistan elections

Is it correct? 'the Pakistan elections'. I don't know if a proper noun can be used as adjective.

For example, could I say:

the India elections

in a headline?

  • This is an interesting question. It's obviously fine to use India here rather than Indian, but I can't place exactly why.
    – Omegastick
    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:35
  • @Omegastick - RE: It's obviously fine.... although I can't place exactly why. Those are the best questions, aren't they? Now that we've tidied it up a bit, I wouldn't be surprised to see this get quite a few upvotes.
    – J.R.
    Jul 12, 2018 at 9:40
  • 2
    Yes, but they are not adjectives, since nouns and adjectives belong to different word classes (parts of speech). But proper nouns can be used as modifiers, for example "a United States warship"; "a Dell computer"; "a Beethoven symphony", "the United Kingdom elections. Your examples are fine too, though we would normally say "Indian elections", where "Indian" is an adjective.
    – BillJ
    Jul 12, 2018 at 10:50

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use those nouns like that because they serve as attributive nouns. An attributive noun can serve as an adjective to the other noun following it.

Say, 'There is a bottle opener.' Now, 'bottle' there serves as an attributive noun which looks like an adjective at first glance.

Think of an even more complex phrase: Yorkshire football team captain!

All are nouns there!

Actually, it should be Yorkshire's football team's captain! But we don't write that. :)

  • 1
    "[The] Yorkshire football team's captain" only one apostrophe is needed. The football doesn't belong to Yorkshire, the team doesn't belong to football, so the proper noun phrase is Yorkshire football team IOW The captain of the Yorkshire football team
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:47
  • @Mari-LouA okay, while I take that 'football' point, I stand by my words for Yorkshire. It's Yorkshire's team. The former part is edited. Thanks :)
    – Maulik V
    Jul 12, 2018 at 15:27
  • It's "{det} Yorkshire team" or "Yorkshire's team". With the apostrophe, "Yorkshire's" itself is a suitable determiner for its noun phrase and no other determiner is warranted. Without it, some other determiner is required: "the Yorkshire team", "a Yorkshire team", "yet another Yorkshire team", et al. Jul 12, 2018 at 17:17

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