Is it because we cannot say "teacher of woman" but we can say "teacher of literature"?

  • 1
    I'd probably call them both adjuncts. Can you tell us more about who categorises them as you describe?
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 1 '20 at 12:24
  • 1
    Who says they are?
    – jlawler
    Apr 1 '20 at 14:55
  • You're on the right lines, though I wouldn't call either of them adjuncts -- that term is best reserved for modifiers (or supplements) in clause structure, not noun phrase structure. In "the woman teacher", "woman" ascribes the property of being a woman to the teacher and hence is a modifier. In "the literature teacher", "literature" doesn't modify "teacher" but is a complement where the meaning is 'a teacher of literature'.
    – BillJ
    Apr 1 '20 at 15:57
  • 2
    Note that "woman teacher", without stress specified, is ambiguous. A "woman TEAcher" is a teacher who is a woman. A "WOman teacher: is one who teaches women. Only the latter has the stress typical of compounds.
    – Greg Lee
    Apr 2 '20 at 3:51

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