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When I am reading this secretly ongoing controvertial issue in NC,

A U.S representative in, as in the quote,

U.S. Rep. David Price, D-North Carolina, also chastised the Legislature for prioritizing passing the bill over other issues.

"The #NCGA won't hold a special session to raise teacher salaries, but they will come back to legislate discrimination? Enough is enough," he tweeted Wednesday.

I am just subtly perplexed what is the difference when this democratic representative said, "teacher salaries".

To me, personally, "teachers' salary" sounds more accurate to me.

Am I wrong here?

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In the quote given, the noun "teacher" serves as an adjective modifying "salary." (Ask yourself, what kind of salary? The salary of a teacher.) Saying "teacher salaries" is proper, and most likely preferred in this context.

Saying "teachers' salaries" would also be correct, although adding a possessive apostrophe to a word that already ends in an 's' is awkward to pronounce in spoken English.

I would not use singular "salary" to describe the collective paychecks of a group of teachers. Since we consider each salary to be an individual and unique amount, use a plural "salaries" to refer to the collective pay of many individuals.

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  • Thank you. Though I am sorry to say, when you said, "I would not use singular "salary" to describe the collective paychecks of a group of teachers." , the adjective "collective" could mean "teachers" in my personal assumption.
    – user17814
    Mar 30 '16 at 14:21
  • It's even more awkward when the subsequent word begins with an s. In this case I suspect the pronunciation difficulties caused the s's to be dropped completely. Mar 30 '16 at 15:56

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