Nouns are often modified by adjectives. However, I often encounter some nouns modified by nouns like chemistry laboratory and history teacher. Comparing these two with chemical industry and historical event, I wonder why the latter two are not in the form of chemistry industry and history event?And why it is not convenient food?

  • more examples:a wonder book and a wonderful book, education experts and educational films
    – 庄怀玉
    May 22, 2023 at 13:51
  • The chemical industry produces chemicals, while a chemistry teacher teaches the subject of chemistry. Around a century ago there was a series of children's books "The Wonder Book of" (ships, trains, animals etc.), meaning that they contained wonderful facts, not that the books themselves were wonderful. May 22, 2023 at 19:21
  • 1
    You should use "?" as the question mark instead of the Chinese one "?".
    May 23, 2023 at 9:01

1 Answer 1


The modification of nouns by other nouns, as you mentioned, is a common linguistic construction known as noun adjuncts or attributive nouns. This construction allows one noun to modify another.

In the case of "chemistry laboratory" and "history teacher," the first noun functions as an adjective, describing the second noun. In your example, "Chemistry laboratory" refers to a laboratory specifically used for chemistry-related experiments and research, while a "history teacher" is a teacher who teaches history.

On the other hand, "chemical industry" and "historical event" follow a different pattern. The reason why we don't use "chemistry industry" or "history event" is mainly due to conventional usage and idiomatic expressions in English. Using "chemistry industry" or "history event" may sound awkward or unfamiliar. And it's the same logic with "convenience food".

  • I'm not sure I understand your answer. You say "chemical industry" and "historical event" follow a different pattern. Here, the first noun is not acting as an adjective... but "chemical" and "historical" are adjectives, not nouns.
    – stangdon
    May 22, 2023 at 17:20
  • @stangdon Thanks for pointing out the mistake, I edited my answer.
    May 23, 2023 at 9:00

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