Which one is the correct form?

"parking valet" or "valet parking"

"Valet parking" is commonly used, but it seems that "parking valet" is also correct!

What's the grammatical explanation of these two correct forms of the phrase?

  • 4
    Did you look up these phrases in a dictionary? – Jasper Jul 31 '19 at 19:07

The "parking valet" is the person who parks your car.
The "valet parking" is the facility that is offered.

If those phrases are part of an advertisement, they effectively mean the same thing, respectively

We have a valet who will park your car.
We offer a car parking service.

Both your phrases consist of two nouns, and in each case the second word is the actual noun, while the first word is a noun adjunct. This is a noun used like an adjective.

  • 21
    I would say that valet parking is the service being offered. The facility is a parking lot. – Barmar Jul 31 '19 at 22:39
  • 5
    There is the further difference that "parking" is a mass noun, while "valet" is a count noun. Because of this, "parking valet" takes a determiner when used in the singular, while "valet parking" does not (in "a car parking service", "parking" is used as a noun adjunct; the main noun is "service", which is countable, and so "car parking service" takes the determiner "a"). – Acccumulation Jul 31 '19 at 22:53
  • 2
    @Acccumulation TL;DR "valet parking", "a parking valet". – CJ Dennis Aug 1 '19 at 6:40
  • 1
    @Barmar Look at no. 2 collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/facility – user62908 Aug 1 '19 at 7:48
  • 1
    @Acccumulation I think you should post your own answer. – Weather Vane Aug 1 '19 at 16:57

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