General Writing and Grammar Help/Drug test or drugs test

Advertisement


Question
Dear Ted:

Is it "drug test" or "drugs test"?
By the

Also, what/which verbs should I use with the above compound noun?

By the way, is it correct to call "drug(s) test" a "compound noun"?

Thanks again for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Ted, should I use "which" or "what" in the second question above?

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is it "drug test" or "drugs test"?
By the

*** The usual form is "drug test."  That term is all inclusive.  A "drug test" may be used to find traces of many drugs, not just one.  The singular expression covers ONE drug or MANY drugs.

Also, what/which verbs should I use with the above compound noun?

EXAMPLES:  A drug test is required for consideration of employment.

Olympic athletes are required to undergo drug tests several times during the games.


By the way, is it correct to call "drug(s) test" a "compound noun"?

*** No, it is not.  It is a noun modified by an adjective.  A compound noun is two nouns merged to make a single such as "court" + "house" = "courthouse."  Note, that there are no spaces between the nouns in a compound noun.


Thanks again for your kind help.

Paolo

P.S. Ted, should I use "which" or "what" in the second question above?

*** It's really your choice.  If you have offered someone a list of verbs, you can ask "which" verbs fit the sentence.  However, if no such list is presented and you are asking the person to think of all possible verb, you would ask "What verbs can you think of to fit this sentence."

I see no other difference.  "Which" implies something near to you, as if you have a choice of the apple or cherry pie sitting on the table.  "What" can be anything:  "What items do you like on the menu?"

Ted

General Writing and Grammar Help

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Ted Nesbitt

Expertise

I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

Experience

I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.