Conservationist David Attenborough and Orang Utan

Conservation Conversation

Posted by on March 2nd, 2018 | 0 comments | grammar, IELTS, nominalisation, noun noun, nouns, pre-modification, speaking, writing

Zoos are good places for animals conservation.

Me
This is an example of a noun pre-modifying another noun.
You
Say what?!
Me
Well, sometimes we have to consider how nouns function within a larger noun phrase.
You
Come again?!
Me
Well, animal is a noun, and conservation is a noun, but together they form a noun phrase: animal conservation.
You
So what’s the problem then, Pak Guru?
Me
Well, in this example, the ‘main’ noun is conservation.
You
What do you mean main noun?
Me
Well, in this example, are you saying that zoos are good for animals or good for conservation?
You
For.. conservation!
Me
Right, so conservation is the main noun.
You
I see, so what’s wrong with animals?
Me
OK, well in the example animals is pre-modifying conservation. ‘Pre’ means ‘before’ – the word ‘animals’ comes before the word ‘conservation’, right?
You
Wait. Did you say ‘modifying’? What’s that?!
Me
Well, the word animals changes (modifies) the word conservation – it tells us exactly what kind of conservation.
You
OK. But I still don’t see what is wrong with the original sentence.
Me
The problem is.. If you use a countable noun to pre-modify another noun, then that modifying noun (in this case animal) must be singular.
You
I see. Like ‘Computer scientist?’
Me
Yes!
You
OK got it!

The featured image for this post is a photograph of the man who has done more than any other to conserve wildlife, the incredible David Attenborough – here conversing with orang utan.

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