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"supply" as a noun modifier

English translation: supplies

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22:03 Apr 3, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Marketing - Business/Commerce (general) / commerce
English term or phrase: "supply" as a noun modifier
A distribution center for computer supplies (disks, ink cartridges, etc.). Which sounds better:

supply center
supplies center

A virtual store for the same items. which sounds better:

virtual supply store
virtual supplies store.

Thanks.
Fuad Yahya
English translation:supplies
Explanation:
I think you HAVE to go with 'supplies', since 'supply centre' has a subtly different meaning --- a place that supplies things, but not specifically those things which grouped together we refer to as 'supplies' --- in the sense of 'consumables' etc.

100 years ago, I doubt one would have made the distinction, but I believe today it is valid

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Note added at 2003-04-03 22:52:36 (GMT)
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Further to Mag. RaWa\'s comment:

I quite agree that my suggestion certainly suffers from euphony-shortfall, but I stand by my basic premise that the MEANING is different -- albeit subtly!

Just try turning the phrase round to see it:

a centre / store for supplies --- YES!

a centre / store for supplying things --- NO!

Keeping the \'store\' in the singular as per given text certainly helps not to make the ugly alliteration worse...

Maybe, to get round the \'virtual\' problem, you might be able to work in \'Your virtual store for computer supplies\' --- or ideally, something less cumbersome!

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Note added at 2003-04-04 07:28:18 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Mag.RaWa, for your further enlightening comments, especially the grammatical reference about noun-modifiers --- extremely useful!

And of course, as a native speaker, I entirely agree that such noun modifiers should be singular --- as in book shop, car showroom, flower shop..., bus station

BUT...

in this special case, \'supplies\' is a special non-countable \'plural\' noun --- a computer supply shop [unrealistic term] would be a shop that supplies computers (cf. an electricity supply company) WHEREAS a computer supplies shop is a shop that sells computer supplies.

Special care is needed in this case, particularly since the word \'supply\' might also be regarded as a verb!

Happy deciding, Fuad!
Selected response from:

Tony M
France
Local time: 23:43
Grading comment
You have definitely convinced me. Thanks to everybody for an excellent debate.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +6supplies
Tony M
4supply hub & virtual supply hub / supplies store
#41698 (LSF)
3Computer Accessories Centre
jerrie
4 -2supply center/storewrtransco


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Computer Accessories Centre


Explanation:
Virtual (On-line) Computer Accessories Centre

Center
Is how I would say it.
Do you have to use supply/supplies

jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:43
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Will Matter: excellent, sidesteps any problems. 1st of each pair US version, 2nd sounds UK to me.
43 mins

disagree  #41698 (LSF): I associate 'accesories' with the 'extras', and less with replenishment items.
11 hrs
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9 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +6
supplies


Explanation:
I think you HAVE to go with 'supplies', since 'supply centre' has a subtly different meaning --- a place that supplies things, but not specifically those things which grouped together we refer to as 'supplies' --- in the sense of 'consumables' etc.

100 years ago, I doubt one would have made the distinction, but I believe today it is valid

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-04-03 22:52:36 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Further to Mag. RaWa\'s comment:

I quite agree that my suggestion certainly suffers from euphony-shortfall, but I stand by my basic premise that the MEANING is different -- albeit subtly!

Just try turning the phrase round to see it:

a centre / store for supplies --- YES!

a centre / store for supplying things --- NO!

Keeping the \'store\' in the singular as per given text certainly helps not to make the ugly alliteration worse...

Maybe, to get round the \'virtual\' problem, you might be able to work in \'Your virtual store for computer supplies\' --- or ideally, something less cumbersome!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2003-04-04 07:28:18 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks, Mag.RaWa, for your further enlightening comments, especially the grammatical reference about noun-modifiers --- extremely useful!

And of course, as a native speaker, I entirely agree that such noun modifiers should be singular --- as in book shop, car showroom, flower shop..., bus station

BUT...

in this special case, \'supplies\' is a special non-countable \'plural\' noun --- a computer supply shop [unrealistic term] would be a shop that supplies computers (cf. an electricity supply company) WHEREAS a computer supplies shop is a shop that sells computer supplies.

Special care is needed in this case, particularly since the word \'supply\' might also be regarded as a verb!

Happy deciding, Fuad!

Tony M
France
Local time: 23:43
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 82
Grading comment
You have definitely convinced me. Thanks to everybody for an excellent debate.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  swisstell
0 min
  -> Thanks, e-rich!

agree  xxxIno66
8 mins
  -> Thanks, Ino!

agree  jccantrell: I would try to work 'computer' in, too, as in "computer supplies center" but be careful about "virtual supplies center": It sounds as if the supplies are virtual, i.e., NOT there!
27 mins
  -> Thanks, JCC --- and I quite agree with that last point!

agree  xxxntouzet
8 hrs
  -> Thanks, Nadine!

agree  jerrie: supplies not supply...
9 hrs
  -> Thanks, Jerrie!

agree  Attila Piróth
10 hrs
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10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): -2
supply center/store


Explanation:
Just try to say it out loud -- "supplies stores"? -- no, I don't think so! :-)

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Note added at 2003-04-03 23:17:07 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I, also, thought of office supply store -- this is at least what I hear and read. Talked to a friend (PhD in comparative literature) -- he said that both are possible, but he would prefer supply.

You take your pick! :-)


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Note added at 2003-04-03 23:22:36 (GMT)
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Suggestion for virtual:
online computer supply store

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Note added at 2003-04-04 01:14:24 (GMT)
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Fhuad,
You may want to do some search on nouns as adjectives (noun-adjectives, attributive nouns, etc.)

Using nouns as adjectives.
Sometimes nouns can be used as adjectives. For example, flower is normally a noun, but in the sentence, Mary has a flower garden, flower is functioning as an adjective to describe Mary\'s garden. What kind of garden does Mary have? Mary has a flower garden. When a noun is used as an adjective, the noun is singular NOT plural.
http://www.johnsesl.com/templates/grammar/adjectives.php

http://www.english-zone.com/grammar/adjective3.html


wrtransco
Local time: 17:43
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
disagree  Tony M: --- ever so nicely! Please see comment added to my suggestion above ^
32 mins

disagree  Will Matter: didn't say THAT!
35 mins

neutral  Kardi Kho: a clothes shop?
11 hrs
  -> a bit silly - right?
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11 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
supply hub & virtual supply hub / supplies store


Explanation:
It is obviously a distribution center.

If I use 'supplies center' without background context, I would doubt whether the center caters to retail customers also.

As for the internet version, I would opt for 'supplies' to denote 'accessories' but 'supply' to denote distribution. And combine with 'hub' if it is for distribution, but with 'store' if it is for both wholesale and retail.



#41698 (LSF)
Malaysia
Local time: 05:43
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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