General Writing and Grammar Help/Attributive Noun


Dear Ted,

Would you please tell me if I am correct to think that the word “car” is a noun being used as an adjective (or better yet called an - attributive noun) in the following sentence:  “I closed the car door”.

Thank you very much.  As always, I very much appreciate your help.

Very Sincerely,


Dear Rich:

Statement from a grammar site:

In grammar, a noun adjunct or attributive noun or noun (pre)modifier is an optional noun that modifies another noun; it is a noun functioning as a pre-modifier in a noun phrase. For example, in the phrase "chicken soup" the noun adjunct "chicken" modifies the noun "soup". It is irrelevant whether the resulting compound noun is spelled in one or two parts. "Field" is a noun adjunct in both "field player" and "fieldhouse".

*** Yes, "car" is a noun used to modify another noun, "door."  

I believe that "noun adjunct" is more commonly used than "attributive noun."  I would not, however, bet the house on that belief.


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Ted Nesbitt


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.


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

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

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