Let's say I made a contest to eat bananas in one day. I ate 12 bananas today. That would be:

My bananas score


My banana score

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    Your “clarification” just confuses me. Do you mean there are a number of partners and a single score has been allocated to them? If so, it is “my partners’ score” (the score belonging to my multiple partners). Jan 8, 2020 at 15:34
  • It has also just occurred to me that you may be using “score” in the almost historical sense of “twenty”? If so why? Jan 8, 2020 at 15:38
  • I'm sure you don't mean my score of partner[s]. You mean the score of my partner. Jan 8, 2020 at 15:42
  • Let's say I made a contest to eat bananas in one day. I ate 12 bananas today. That would be my banana(s) score. Or maybe it's just wrong to put it this way ?
    – Sigma
    Jan 8, 2020 at 15:43
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    Nobody would understand "my banana score" unless the specific context made it obvious this was a reference to your "score" (number of bananas eaten) in some weird contest. In another context, it might be the number of times the banana symbol came up on a fruit machine you were playing on. Or anything else to do with bananas. Basically, just about any noun can be used as an adjective in the right context. But most of them don't have any real meaning outside of that context. Jan 8, 2020 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


Obviously you'd have to use this in a context where people understood the game, and that you were speaking about the game.

I would use:

My banana score.

I see this as being similar to saying something like:

My banana count.

I.e. It's your "banana count" for the day.

This would be similar to the term "head count", which is used when counting the number of people in some context. In as much as you wouldn't say "heads count", I don't think you would say "bananas count", and therefore you wouldn't say "bananas score".

Further to this, unless you had a scoring system more complex than just a direct count, you may just use the word "count" rather than the word "score" - it's actually quite idiomatic in scenarios where people invent these kind of simple contests to have with each other, e.g., many people compare their Fitbit "step count".

There could be another situation, where you might say:

My Bananas score.

This would be the case if you had named the game Bananas.

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    These are attributive noun usages (noun used adjectivally). They're usually singular, but not always (singles bar, weapons system, sales department, emissions control,...). Jan 8, 2020 at 16:43
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica Is apostrophe not used?
    – Boyep
    Jan 8, 2020 at 16:50
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    @Boyep: You wouldn't use an apostrophe, as they are used as adjectives, and not nouns possessing something. Think of it not as "system belonging to weapons", but as "system of weapons" or "system pertaining to weapons".
    – Chris Mack
    Jan 8, 2020 at 16:57
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    @Boyen: I specifically avoided citing examples that (might) include an apostrophe because that introduces a lot of irrelevant complexity. I believe a lady's man was originally the most common form, but today you'll more often see a ladies' man. Or even the plural without a possessive apostrophe, as a ladies man, and I certainly wouldn't want to get bogged down in arguments about which if any of those are "syntactically invalid". All I can say for sure is I would never countenance the "full" plural genitive form a ladies's man - that's just plain wrong. Jan 8, 2020 at 17:07
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    (But a children's book is fine by me! :) Jan 8, 2020 at 17:08

Short answer:

The correct rendering would be

My banana score.

Long answer

There is no such thing as a "banana score", but that isn't to say you can't create the premise, and then use it. 11 years ago there was no such thing as an "Uber rating", and now there is.

So, assuming you have explained the premise - that you are eating bananas, keeping a count of how many you eat, and "scoring" yourself based on how many you consume in a day - you can refer to this score.

I think you should use the singular "banana score" for two reasons:

  1. This is consistent with other similar scoring systems. As I mentioned, your Uber rating is based on your use of Uber taxi cabs. Even though you may have ridden in may Ubers, it isn't your "Ubers rating" - it is singular. Also consider the Motion Picture Association of America film rating (it isn't "films"!), and Five Star Hotels (not "stars"!)

  2. "Bananas" can also mean "crazy", so calling it "my bananas score" could mean your score is crazy, or ridiculous.

  • Would it be?: My banana(banana's) score is a score of one banana eaten. My bananas' score is a score of some number of bananas. Wouldn't it be? Is it ok to say so
    – Boyep
    Jan 8, 2020 at 16:32
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    @Boyep I don't think so. Football score. Job history. Star rating. All singular.
    – Astralbee
    Jan 8, 2020 at 16:36

It is possible in English to create compound nouns in which one noun effectively acts as an adjective limiting another noun. For example, we say "information technology" or "medical technology" to distinguish between technologies used for different purposes or using different aspects of knowledge.

This is a grammatical feature of English. If for example I say "My golf score yesterday was awful," it will be understood because almost everyone in the English-speaking world knows there is a competetive game called golf in which each player earns a score. But the compound word "banana score" will be meaningless because virtually no one has heard of your games of eating bananas (or eating partners, which is likely illegal in many jurisdictions).

A compound noun is usually an abbreviated way of saying something that avoids the use of prepositional or participial phrases. Like many abbreviations, it is meaningful only if the audience can supply the missing information.

People will understand if you say

My score in my fraternity's banana-eating contest was 18

because you have supplied contextual information. Unless they were participants or onlookers, they will believe you to be talking nonsense if you say

My banana score was 18.

The issue of whether "score" should be singular or plural depends on on the number of contests that you are referring to rather than the numerical value of the score itself.

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