a box of tissues vs a box tissues.

pickyx

Senior Member
Chinese
As the title suggests, what the difference between a box of tissues and a box tissues?

Why is there an of needed in a box of tissues, why cann't we say a box tissues?


Similarly, dozens of people VS dozens people.

Thanks!

 
Last edited:
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    English uses phrases like "a noun1 noun2". Here are the rules:

    1. The "a" modifies noun2, not noun1. You can only use "a" if noun2 is singular.

    2. Noun1 modifies noun2, making noun2 more specific. For example "a shoe store" is more specific than "a store". Because it is acting like an adjective, noun1 is not plural.

    3. The combined phrase means noun2. For example, "box tissues" are tissues, while "tissue boxes" are boxes.

    3. "Box tissues" means "box-like tissues" or "tissues that come in a box".

    4. "A tissue box" means a box designed for holding tissues.

    5. "A box (full) of tissues" means a box containing tissues. We usually omit "full of" and just say "of", because we say this so often, and because it may be only half-full.
     
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