Prescription pills

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Gollo

Senior Member
Italian - Italy
Hi everyone :)

I'm learning a bunch of common English idioms, and one of them is "over the counter". I understand what it means, but the article that I'm reading and that listed this idiom reports a weird example of this very idiom being used in a sentence. Here is the example:

- Are your allergy pills prescription?

- No, you can get these over-the-counter.


What sounds strange to me is that in the first sentence the word prescription is seems to be used as an adjective ... Can a drug, pill, medicine ... be prescription? Shouldn't the adjective be prescribed?

Thanks :)
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - US
    in the first sentence the word prescription is seems to be used as an adjective
    That is correct. We have "prescription drugs". "Prescribed" is the past tense (and past participle) form of the verb "to prescribe".

    Some drugs can only be sold to you if you have a doctor's prescription (a sheet of paper from the doctor, prescribing this drug for you).

    So "prescription" is both an adjective and a noun.

    Other drugs are "over-the-counter" drugs - anyone can buy them. You don't need a doctor's prescription.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    And sometimes prescription can be used more generally to mean something that adjusted to someone's requirements, and so we talk about prescription glasses and prescription goggles.
     
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