Is there any way that I can use in adjective + noun for the following meaning? I want to talk about "the teacher that was a substitute" but this way seems to me long, unnatural and wordy.

Can I say for example "substitutable teacher" and the the meaning will still remain?

Context: Jack, a substitutable teacher, went on the street and then he noticed to strong voice behind him..."

Another example: "I saw the substitutable teacher last week"

  • 2
    In the U.S., substitute teacher is the term that is used. You're correct in saying that your original wording is "long and unnatural," and your revised version sounds great. – J.R. Feb 11 '16 at 1:31
  • In the U.S., if it is clear from the context that teachers are being discussed, "sub" is a normal abbreviation for "substitute teacher". With this meaning, the "sub" abbreviation does not have the period that most abbreviations have. "Sub" is less formal than "substitute teacher". Some people think that the term "sub" is also less respectful than the term "substitute teacher". – Jasper Feb 11 '16 at 1:43
  • Substitute teacher is correct, but supply teacher is also common. – dinerdash Feb 11 '16 at 1:58
  • The original teacher was substitutable with the substitute teacher. – Peter Feb 11 '16 at 14:08
  • @dinerdash - supply teacher looks like a UK usage. Americans would generally not understand what you meant by that. – stangdon Feb 11 '16 at 15:54

Although substitutable is an adjective, we don't hear people say substitutable teacher.

The noun substitute usually functions as an adjective. So you should say:

I saw the substitute (or sub in informal English) teacher last week.


The suffix -able is usually added to verbs to form adjectives meaning:

-able also -ible [in adjectives]

that you can do something to:

washable (=it can be washed)

unbreakable (=it cannot be broken)

loveable (=easy to love)

from: LDOCE

Hence, a substitutable teacher would stand for a teacher who could be replaced by a substitute, not the substitute themselves.

Your construction might be a bit wordy, as suggested in comments (although it is clear and understandable) and you can replace it with substitute teacher (also suggested in comments)

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