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Calling all grammar pedants.
Is there someone I could write to for an official clarification of a point of grammar?

I tell you why: a society I belong to insists that the plural of "woman member" is "women members", and I am sure it should be "woman members". I would like to find either a book or an authority on grammar who could resolve this issue, as it's really starting to get on my nerves! Any ideas?

Current Mood: quixotic quixotic

6 comments or Leave a comment
sashajwolf From: sashajwolf Date: 7th December 2002 00:07 (UTC) (Link)
I think "women members" is correct. "Women" is being used adjectivally, and adjectives should agree with the noun they are modifying in gender and number. However, because English adjectives as such don't distinguish gender and number, most grammars won't cover this rule, because it's only on the rare occasions where a gender- or number-specific noun is pressed into service as an adjective that it will come up.
mactavish From: mactavish Date: 7th December 2002 00:09 (UTC) (Link)
I prefer "female member" and "female members." "Woman" is a noun, not an adjective.

Do we say "the man members"? Well . . I mean in that context.

lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: 7th December 2002 02:16 (UTC) (Link)
I'm with Mary on this one.

Or 'members who are women' :)
From: rivka Date: 7th December 2002 07:06 (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I agree. Using "woman" as an adjective is just as bad as using "female" as a noun. Plus, it reminds me of the way my father used to call some of his colleagues "lady doctors" until I broke him of the habit.
meeping From: meeping Date: 7th December 2002 01:51 (UTC) (Link)

Women members sounds more natural but I think you may be correct in thinking woman members is grammatically correct.
sashajwolf From: sashajwolf Date: 7th December 2002 06:34 (UTC) (Link)
Okay, I guess I was wrong. Silly language, English ;-)

(I was arguing with the entry all the way till it got to "master craftsman" etc, which seems to me to be the closest match, and then I had to concede the point).
6 comments or Leave a comment