babies' hands vs baby hands

kimconu

Member
Vietnamese
Am I correct?

1. For babies in general, I think things that is attached to the owner's body or created by the owner, we will only use possessive case. EX:
- Why people shouldn't touch babies' hands? / Not "Baby hands".
- Babies' urine. / Not "Baby urine".
- Babies' tear. / Not "Baby tear".

2. For babies in general, I think things that isn't attached to the owner's body or not created by the owner, we will use compound noun. EX:
- This is baby oil / food. -> we don't say "This is babies' oil / food. "
- These are baby toys. -> we don't say "These are babies' toys."
 
Last edited:
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    This is baby oil --> This is oil for babies.
    This is baby food --> This is food for babies.
    These are baby toys --> These are toys for babies.

    So the "baby <noun>" construct seems to have a "for" meaning.

    The examples in 1 are possessives, so you can use the 2 standard Engish possessive forms:

    Babies' tears = tears of a baby
    Babies' hands = hands of a baby
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    In Baby oil, the noun, oil, is being modified by the adjectival noun, baby, to specify what particular kind of oil (or food, etc) is meant.
    Baby's hands is a possessive phrase. The modifier (baby's) doesn't tell you what kind of hands you're talking about, it tells you who owns the hands.
     

    kimconu

    Member
    Vietnamese
    This is baby oil --> ....
    Sorry, I mean:

    Am I correct?

    1. For babies in general, I think things that is attached to the owner's body or created by the owner, we will only use possessive case. EX:
    - Why people shouldn't touch babies' hands? / Not "Baby hands".
    - Babies' urine. / Not "Baby urine".
    - Babies' tear. / Not "Baby tear".

    2. For babies in general, I think things that isn't attached to the owner's body or not created by the owner, we will use compound noun. EX:
    - This is baby oil / food. -> we don't say "This is babies' oil / food. "
    - These are baby toys. -> we don't say "These are babies' toys."
     

    kimconu

    Member
    Vietnamese
    In Baby oil, the no...
    Sorry, I mean:

    Am I correct?

    1. For babies in general, I think things that is attached to the owner's body or created by the owner, we will only use possessive case. EX:
    - Why people shouldn't touch babies' hands? / Not "Baby hands".
    - Babies' urine. / Not "Baby urine".
    - Babies' tear. / Not "Baby tear".

    2. For babies in general, I think things that isn't attached to the owner's body or not created by the owner, we will use compound noun. EX:
    - This is baby oil / food. -> we don't say "This is babies' oil / food. "
    - These are baby toys. -> we don't say "These are babies' toys."
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    It's not precisely that the things are attached, it is that they belong (are possessed/owned) to the baby. Possession is clearest in things that are attached to the baby, but it is not necessarily so. You can change the baby, and what you remove is the baby's dirty diaper. It doesn't become a baby diaper when it is no longer attached. Once the baby has used the diaper, it is the baby's diaper.
     
    Last edited:

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Maybe 'part of' would be a better term than talking about possession or attachment. 'Baby hands' means hands like a baby, small ones. You're right, Kim.
     
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