If I want to talk about a plural collection (e.g.: set, group,...) I should say group of dogs, set of files,... but is it correct to say files group, file group, both or neither in this context (a bunch of files)?

The context is about a lot of files as a collection or another type of group: a set of notebooks (notebooks set? / notebook set?), a pack of hounds (hounds pack? / hound pack?), etc. Perhaps none of these is an alternative correct answer, but I'd like to know if it's possible.

  • In this context I'm not talking about file permissions or similar (like file owner, file group,...), I mean lots of files as a collection (group of files) or some other things: a set of notebooks (notebooks set? / notebook set?), a pack of hounds (hounds pack? / hound pack?), etc. Maybe there is no grammatically correct option to write that, but I'd like to know it – Fran Arjona Aug 1 '13 at 8:46
  • Erizo, you should modify your question, and include that elaboration. Overly brief questions are prone to misinterpretation, where not everyone initially understands what you are asking about. – J.R. Aug 1 '13 at 16:53

IMHO, "file group" is ok, as snailboat has written above (and "group of files" too). When a noun is used to pre-modify another noun, taking on the role of an adjective (example: "chicken soup"), it is called noun adjunct or attributive noun (Wikipedia).

It seems that in highly specialized texts - technical or legal etc. - attributive nouns may be used in the plural. A quote (Wikisource; the article in Wikipedia also treats the issue):

As you know, Mr. Snowden has been charged with theft of government property (in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641), unauthorized communication of national defense information (in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 793(d)), and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person (in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 798(a)(3)). According to news reports and information provided by your government, Mr. Snowden is currently in the transit zone of the Sheremetyevo Airport.

Maybe the quote is off the mark.. as I understand it, here we see several attributive nouns heaped before the head noun.

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When you use a noun as attributive, you normally use the singular of that noun. That doesn't imply that, in your case, you are talking about something relative a single file. For example, user group doesn't imply the group is for a single user, or that the group can contain just a single user.
If you want to make more explicit that you are talking of a group of files, you say group of files.

Bear in mind that, generally speaking, a <attributive noun, singular> <noun> is not always equivalent to a <noun> of <attributive noun, plural>. (Compare, for example, "a family business" with "a business of families.")

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