American Gold Rush

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Senior Member
Good evening my dearest friends
Would you please help me know what is the modifier and what is the modified in this statement?

American Gold Rush

Is it an American rush towards gold?
or is it a rush towards American gold?

It may seem very easy for you to understand.
But being a non-native speaker of English, it is a little bit confusing.

Thank you very much indeed.
  • Spira

    UK English
    Neither, sorry!
    It is the commonly-used name to describe the rush towards gold that took place in America in the mid-1800s.
    (although in a sense that is a rush towards American gold)


    Senior Member
    Dear bibliolept

    It is a title of an article
    It describes the events of the rush towards gold that took place between 1848-1855 in California.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I don't agree with the above posts entirely. The American Gold Rush(s) were phenomena; and the term refers to the phenomena specifically.

    There were two major gold rushes, The "forty-niners" rush of 1849 had hoards of wealth-seekers travelling to California.

    There was another gold rush in Canada/Alaska in the late 1800s, I don't recall the date however.

    In both cases the "gold rush" referred to the masses of gold-seekers, the industries that served them (liquor and prostitutes), the lawlessness that followed, and, of course, the gold-seeking itself. But it was the totality of the phenomena that is the "Gold Rush".


    Senior Member
    English - Canadian
    Just an additional comment to try to add a little something which hasn't been mentioned so far and which might help the OP.

    "Gold rush" is a compound noun, and it means a time period in which many people move to a place where gold has recently been discovered to attempt to gain riches. In the case you are asking about, therefore, "gold rush" is a noun, and American is an adjective that describes it, and which defines it as a particular gold rush that occurred in California in 1849.


    Senior Member
    Well yes it was...........but that is not the sense of the three words, which has become a real noun.
    "The American Gold Rush" strikes me as odd, however. It is usually referred to as either "the Great American Gold Rush" or "the California Gold Rush." I also find "the great California Gold Rush" on the Internet, but with "great" left uncapitalized, in contrast to "the Great American Gold Rush."

    The Great American Gold Rush attracted many people from outside the United States.

    Addition: As jpyvr has pointed out, "gold rush" is a compound noun. As such, there were other American gold rushes prior to the Great American Gold Rush.
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