I came across this headline:

"Class Struggle in My Family’s Hometown"

Can you tell if "Struggle" is a noun or verb without any further context?

  • 2
    "Struggle" is a noun here. It's modified by the noun "class" to give the noun phrase "class struggle".
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:27
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – gotube
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 23:20

2 Answers 2


Most readers should recognize the term “class struggle” from Marxist theory, and no further analysis would be necessary.

If not, however, we can quickly see that “class” as a subject and “struggle” as a verb do not agree: it should be either “class struggles” or “classes struggle”. So, ignoring the unlikely possibility that the paper’s author and/or editor made such a basic mistake, we must conclude that “struggle” is not a verb here.

  • I get it now. But what if I wanted to use it like: "class struggling in my family’s hometown" to visually signals "struggle" is a noun, would that be correct? Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 10:37
  • @luizantonio If you are referring to class struggle in the Marxist sense, “struggling” wouldn’t work. While ambiguous, my brain wants to read that version as a verb—the opposite of what you want.
    – StephenS
    Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 13:22
  • I think I get it now: ""class struggling in my family’s hometown" can make one think there is only one class fighting for something. this ambiguity is not very obvious for someone im process of learning English Commented Jan 7, 2022 at 17:17

It is a noun. "class" and "struggle" are both nouns and we combined them to make a compound noun. For e.g. cat food or fire-fly.

  • 1
    I wouldn't call "class struggle" a compound noun, but a syntactic construction consisting of the noun "struggle" as head and the noun "class" as its modifier. I agree that firefly is a compound noun, but "cat food" is a syntactic construction (head + modifier).
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:21
  • 1
    Bro, talk in English. Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:25
  • If you don't understand English perhaps you shouldn't be posting answers on ELL, especially wrong ones. Note that "class struggle" is not a compound noun.
    – BillJ
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:30
  • What is the difference between a noun phrase and a compound noun? Also, is "noun phrase" a compound noun? Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:33
  • wouldn't "class struggling" be clearer that "struggle" is being used as a noun? at least visually? do "class struggle in my family’s hometown" and "class struggling in my family’s hometown" differ somehow? Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 12:36

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