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I have come across a blog post saying "Both types of machines have their pros and cons when it comes to working out." It got me thinking few of the following combinations.

  1. type of machine (both noun are singular)
  2. types of machine (types is plural but machine is singular)
  3. type of machines (type is singular but machines is plural)
  4. types of machines (as it says on the blog post)

Are those 4 equivalent? Can someone explain to me the real difference between the 4 combinations, when to use and when to avoid certain combinations? As I am writing this post, I further pivoted to the following combinations.

  1. machine type (this is to say: one machine type)
  2. machines type (this is to say: many machine but same type)
  3. machine types (this is to say: one machine of many types)
  4. machine's type (this is to say: one type belonging to a particular machine)
  5. machine's types (this is to say: some types belonging to a particular machine)

Ok now I am totally confused and lost. Any help is very much appreciated. Thanks a lot.

1 Answer 1

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This is a common usage in informal communication (because the speaker is thinking of more than one machine), but the correct version is types of machine. (A is one type of machine, B is another type of machine, A and B are types of machine - of machine modifies type, so it doesn't need to be plural.)

The correct shorter form would be machine types. This doesn't mean 'one machine of many types'; machine acts like an adjective describing what they are types of.

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