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Jigneshbharati
Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 9:34:54 AM
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Intraveous tobramycin is one of the mainstay antibiotics in the treatment of respiratory exacerbation in cystic fibrosis.

https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/learning/learning-article/possible-compromises-for-the-dos...

Is "mainstay" an adjective here modifying the noun "antibiotics"?
thar
Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 10:39:19 AM

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Yes. 'Mainstay' is a noun, so here it is an attributive noun acting as an adjective. It describes the role of these antibiotics.

It might make more sense if you realise that 'stays' are ropes connected to the masts of a sailing ship, so the mainstay keeps the main mast from falling over - makes it stay upright. The ship relies on it - it holds the ship together!



So mainstay antibiotics are the ones the treatment relies on - the one that doctors will always prescribe first in such cases.
Jigneshbharati
Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2018 11:30:03 AM
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Thanks thar!!!
BobShilling
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 3:43:48 AM
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thar wrote:
Yes. 'Mainstay' is a noun, so here it is an attributive noun acting as an adjective. It describes the role of these antibiotics.

I'd say that it is functioning as a modifier rather than acting as an adjective,
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 4:31:24 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
I'd say that it is functioning as a modifier rather than acting as an adjective

Traditional English grammar used the terms: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition and conjunction (and sometimes interjection and article) to describe the functions of words in sentences.

The words 'modifier' and 'determiner' are a different (but still correct) way to describe words - these descriptions come from the study of linguistics, and are used in some grammar books.

"Modifier" is a very general term, and includes most adjectives and adverbs, plus many possessive nouns and pronouns, plus attributive nouns and phrases.

In that sentence, "mainstay" is an attributive noun, it functions as a modifier, and it acts as an adjective.
All three descriptions are correct.

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
thar
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 7:57:44 AM

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I agree in this case it is describing (using a metaphor) what the antibiotics do, rather than describing the antibiotics themselves. But then so would adjectives such as 'useful' or 'essential'.


But that is the versatility of attributive nouns - stick a noun in there and trust the reader to apply the logic that adds meaning!
BobShilling
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2018 11:06:02 AM
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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

In that sentence, "mainstay" is an attributive noun, it functions as a modifier, and it acts as an adjective.
All three descriptions are correct.


That depends on which school of grammar you follow. However, as far as learners of English are concerned, it doesn't really matter.
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