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the spinning around machine

a) a program that is open source b) an open source program

(b) sounds right because “open source” is in fact a whole adjective. It is neither “open” nor “source”. So the construct in (b) is just like “a blue book”.

However,

a) the machine that is spinning around b) the spinning around machine

Somehow, (b) doesn’t look right for me, because the base adjective is only “spinning”. Is it just my feeling, or is it indeed wrong? If wrong, is there a way to somehow “correct” it?

Thanks a lot.

  • July 7, 2007
  • Posted by agro
  • Filed in Grammar
  • 3 comments

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How about simply hyphenating the compound modifier:
"the spinning-around machine"?
It's fairly basic grammar and allows you to retain the flavor of the words you want to use while clearing up any confusion about meaning.

amazed July 26, 2007 @ 11:36AM

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I know I'm a gravedigger with this post but I thought I should add that the "around," in my opinion, is an preposition. The OP has incorrectly ended his phrase with an preposition and should simply remove it.

1) "The machine that is spinning."
2) "The spinning machine."

It is quite easy to swap the order in this case. If "around" is to be used, it needs an object so one needs to ask:

"Around what is the machine spinning?" and not "What is the machine spinning around?"

brett October 12, 2009 @ 8:17AM

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AO, Brett, "around" can be either an adverb or a preposition. When used in "spinning around", it's an adverb that means "in a circular manner". It does not mean "to encircle something else".

Also, as for the original question, I would suggest that normally, open-source should be hyphenated. It functions as a single adjective.

porsche October 14, 2009 @ 1:05PM

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