In this instance, wouldn"t trash be an adjective describing what kind of have the right to it is? I"m being told by a German altoalsimce.org teacher the "trash can" is a noun in this sentence.

You are watching: Trash can one word or two

There room numerous varieties of cans, and trash is describing what kind of deserve to it is. I"m not obtaining how rubbish is a noun in this situation.


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In her sentence, "trash can" is a noun phrase, similar to "big dog" is a noun phrase, also though "big" is one adjective.

In "trash can", "trash" is being provided in a position normally occupied by an adjective, even though that is a noun. This is an example of a noun modifying a noun, just like "dog" in the phrase "dog bed".

Such nouns are dubbed noun adjuncts or attributive nouns. This Wikipedia short article might help.


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We have the right to take the noun "can" and type an unlimited number of coherent and also sensible noun phrases, including: a huge can, a blue can, a hefty can, an north can, a believe can, a coffee can, an oil can, a rubbish can. Simply as you"ve for sure noticed, the native big, blue, heavy, empty, tin, coffee, oil and trash all execute the same job. They every modify the noun "can". In high school, ns was teach to brand all this noun-modifying words together adjectives. If we only want come look at the job-related that this words do for or on words "can", that"s fine.

But, if we desire to look in ~ the work that can be done because that or top top those words, we discover that over there is a significant difference. There"s at least one sort of native that can modify adjectives. In high school, ns was teach to label every one of those words together adverbs. One example of such an adverb is the word "very".

These unit volume work: a very big can, a an extremely blue can, a really heavy can, a an extremely empty can. This phrases fail: a very tin can, a really coffee can, a very oil can, a an extremely trash can. Big, blue, heavy and empty it seems to be ~ to be one type of word. Tin, coffee, oil and also trash it seems ~ to be another type of word.

There is an ext than one means to deal with this difference. We could consider "trash can" come be simply one word (a compound word) that is just one part of decided (a noun) yet consider "empty can" to be a phrase with two separate words (empty and also can) and also two separate components of decided (adjective and noun). The sounds prefer the method that her German altoalsimce.org teacher takes. Alternately, we could consider tin, coffee, oil, trash and can to every be nouns. Every one of them (can included) are used to modify other nouns, and there"s naught special around the way these indigenous combine. Offered the noun "crusher", we can talk around a deserve to crusher as conveniently as a tin can, and also even talk about a tin have the right to crusher if us so wish. I supplied to have a an extremely blue tin can crusher, but I threw the in the trash can.

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Whatever system of brand you prefer, the is more useful to use a mechanism that defines both what the words have the right to do and also what deserve to be done to them. Labelling the "trash" that "trash can" as merely an adjective ignores the fact that "a an extremely trash can" is no a coherent and sensible noun phrase.