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Suppose we have three different groups: A, B and C. Now, my question would be how should we say A:

"group A" or "A group"

For making it more clear, consider a situation in which we would want recommend a group to an individual. Which one of the following sentences is grammatically correct?

You should use group A.

You should use A group.


UPDATE #1:

As @Victor Bazarov kindly has commented, in this case A and B could placeholders for longer phrases. For example:

You should consume tropical fruits group.

You should consume group tropical fruits.

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  • group at first place looks far natural. I follow World Cups and there it is always 'Group A' and not 'A Group'. – Maulik V Oct 22 '15 at 12:32
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    @MaulikV: In World Cups the group names are literally 'A', 'B' etc. Here they can be placeholders, and the real names can be adjectives or numbers. – Victor Bazarov Oct 22 '15 at 14:10
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Neither option sounds quite right unless you have groups named "A", "B" and "C".

When "A", "B" and "C" are being used as nouns (as is common in the Football World Cup), then favour "group" at the start.

England, Brazil, Spain and France from Group A will continue to the next round.


I've had to think about the word group, but I think the pattern is: If you are using group with an adjective, put the adjective in front. If you are using it with a noun, put the word group in front and add "of"

I joined my local gymnastics group.

I have joined a group of gymnasts.


For your example specifically, you should consider something like:

You should consume [more] from the tropical fruits food group.

Here, the world food group is a compound noun. I'm not sure it works perfectly as "tropical fruits" isn't one of the standard food groups.


Suppose we've got a function called showMessage then which one do you use? "You should use showMessage function." or "You should use function showMessage."

Here I would use the first option, but add a definite article.

You should use the showMessage function.


I saw in many cases that people say: "Variable x is used for ..." so, why wouldn't we say "x variable is used for ..."?

I can't think of the rule here, but Variable x is the correct way to say this. You can omit the word variable completely:

The tutorialMetadata variable is used to store information read from an XML file.

tutorialMetadata is used to store information read from an XML file.

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  • I just checked out your profile and saw you're a programmer, just like me. So, how do you say name of a method/function in a programming language? Suppose we've got a function called showMessage then which one do you use? "You should use showMessage function." or "You should use function showMessage." Thanks James! – frogatto Oct 22 '15 at 15:36
  • I've added to my answer @abforce – James Webster Oct 22 '15 at 15:41
  • Thanks James for that. However I still have another question. I saw in many cases that people say: "Variable x is used for ..." so, why wouldn't we say "x variable is used for ..."? – frogatto Oct 22 '15 at 15:45
  • @abforce As a native speaker, I can tell you intuitively that "variable x" parses much differently in my mind than the tropical fruits example. I need to think about it a bit more so don't take this to the bank, but I suspect we're treating it a bit like a title + name as a proper noun, e.g. President Obama. – CynicallyNaive Oct 22 '15 at 16:39
  • @CynicallyNaive title + name is an interesting point you've mentioned. Thanks. I actually love native speakers :). – frogatto Oct 22 '15 at 17:14
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You can either say "tropical fruit group" or "the group of tropical fruit" according to the Oxford Collocations Dictionary.

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  • 1
    While this may be correct, it's not very helpful without more elaboration. – ColleenV Oct 22 '15 at 15:39
  • Moreover, without some specific context, these both sound unnatural at best. – CynicallyNaive Oct 23 '15 at 1:19

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