英语写作 | 词组的复数要怎么加?

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As you know, in English you generally make a word plural by adding an ‘s’ at the end. There seems to be some confusion, though, about how to make plurals of terms made up of more than one word. For example, do you say bicycles shops or bicycle shops? Do you say power of attorneys or powers of attorney?
众所周知,在英语中要把一个名词变成复数,只要在这个词的后面加上“s”就行了。不过,当一个名词变成了由几个名词组成的词组时,就让人摸不着头脑了。举个例子,如果你要表示自行车商店的复数形式,你是用“bicycles shop”还是“bicycle shops”?在表示授权书的复数时,你是说“power of attorneys”还是“powers of attorney”?

The answers are bicycle shops and powers of attorney.
正确的说法是“bicycle shops”和“powers of attorney”。

The rule is that you pluralise the “head” of the term.
名词词组复数变化的规则就是:变“重点词”。

The term bicycle shop is typical of most noun groups. The “head” is the last word in the group. The previous word or words act as an adjective. So the last word in the group is pluralised. Here are some more examples:
“自行车商店”这个名词词组是一个很典型的例子。在这个词组中,重点词是最后一个词,即商店(shop);前面的词或者词组只是起到了一个形容词的修饰作用而已。因此,在这个词组中,最后一个词变成了复数形式。更多类似的例子:

  • Bank account => Bank accounts
    银行账户
  • Company car => Company cars
    公司用车
  • Price limit => Price limits
    价格限制
  • Termination notice => Termination notices
    终止通知
  • Service charge payment => Service charge payments
    服务费收费
  • Employee share option scheme => Employee share option schemes
    雇员股份认购权计划

However, a term like power of attorney acts rather differently. Power is the “head” and of attorney is an adjectival phrase which describes the “head”. Here are some other examples of terms that behave in the same way:
然而,像授权书这样的词组就又是另外一番解释了。在这个词组中,重点词是权利(power),律师(attorney)一词只是用来充当形容词的修饰成分。

  • Article of association => Articles of association
    公司章程
  • Code of conduct => Codes of conduct
    行为守则
  • Conflict of interest => Conflicts of interest
    利益冲突
  • Course of action => Courses of action
    行动步骤
  • Notary public => Notaries public
    公证人
  • Statement of claim => Statements of claim
    起诉书

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