attributes' hash or attributes hash

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ITiger, Jun 20, 2014.

  1. ITiger Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    Hi all,

    I know this is a typical FAQ grammar question but I'd rather like to know what SOUNDS better to a native speaker. Namely, in a technical context (a scientific paper), I'd like to form a possessive form of a plural noun "attributes". The question is what is the better option, see below:

    "X is a signature over the attributes' hash used for integrity" --> with an apostrophe
    "X is a signature over the attributes hash used for integrity" --> without it

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    It was a poor choice of words to say "sounds better", because of course they both sound exactly the same when spoken.
    The version without apostrophe is incorrect, but the version with apostrophe is undesirable, because we tend to avoid the apostrophe-genitive in the case of inanimate or abstract objects, in favour of the of-genitive: "the hash of the attributes".
     
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Yes, the hash of the attributes, rather than the attribute hash (the noun + noun compound, where singular attribute would be used, not plural), and rather than the genitive plural the attributes' hash. That's tolerable if for some reason you really don't want to use the of construction, but of does sound better.
     
  4. ITiger Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    thanks a lot! I've changed the sentence to have "the hash of the attributes" in it :)
     
  5. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Of course, if it now reads 'X is a signature over the hash of the attributes used for integrity', it's in danger of seeming to say that some attributes (A, B, C) are used for integrity and some (P, Q, R) aren't, and X is a signature over the hash of just A, B, and C. So 'and is used for integrity' or something like that might be advisable. Phrasing is fraught with difficulties!
     
  6. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    Quite so! Perhaps it should be "X is a signature used for integrity over the hash of the attributes." It still sounds a bit odd. Perhaps: "For integrity, we use X as a signature over the hash of the attributes."
    What does it mean? Is a signature similar to a hash, but different enough to make it better? Does "for integrity" mean as a back-up, as belt-and-braces?
     
  7. ITiger Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    the "used for integrity" part can be omitted in this case. I the real paper, I've divided this into two sentences: the first one with "the signature over the hash of the attributes" and the second one describing the purpose of the signature.
    Thanks for the interesting observation!
     
  8. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    What is your context? Is this a hash coding for a numerical representation of some attributes? If so I can't see a problem with saying attributes hash provided you have explained somewhere what it means.
     
  9. ITiger Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    this is a computer science paper, therefore, there would be no doubts with respect to what a secure hash function does (in this context). Your description of a hash is roughly correct, Biffo. Are you suggesting that for you the following sentence would sound fine (in the computer science context): "X is a signature over the attributes hash..."
     
  10. Biffo Senior Member

    England
    English - England
    Well I don't know what sort of signature you mean or how it is "over" the hash-code (?)

    Do you perform a bitwise XOR of a digital signature over a hash code? It's all a bit vague.

    Prima facie it seems okay to me though.
     
  11. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    But in that case I think I would still keep attribute singular, unless you are calculating a single hash of several attributes. My possibly mistaken interpretation of your original was that each attribute had its own hash and signature.
     
  12. ITiger Member

    Ukrainian, Russian
    A signature over the hash essentially means that a sign operation is applied to the hash. This operation in my case is an RSA-based signature (which is clear in the context of my paper). I guess in the IT-Security jargon, the usage of "attributes hash" should be acceptable... Thanks for sharing your view on that, Biffo!
     

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