I have been always confused which is proper to use: singular or plural form before the word set, list, or container of multiple things?

For example:

  • values set or it should be value set
  • key list or keys list
  • integer set or integers set
  • 1
    In all your examples the first term is a noun adjunct (noun used as adjective), which is almost always singular (thus your car might have a car radio, but not a cars radio or possessive car's radio or cars' radio). The fact that both your second words have similar meanings is irrelevant. We don't have special rules of grammar for such details. Jul 23 '16 at 22:31
  • This may be of help. Jul 23 '16 at 22:45

Singular before, plural after:

  • Value set or set of values
  • Key list or list of keys
  • Integer set or set of integers
  • Donut box or box of donuts

The reason it is singular is because it is acting as an adjective, like FumbleFingers said. So in the case of "integer set," integer is seen as an adjective modifying set, telling what kind of set it is.

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