Consider the following anatomical parts of crustacean: carapace, abdomen, and areola.

In much of published literature, you'll see the phrases "carapace length", "abdomen length," and "areola length" used much more frequently than what I'd consider being the more correct phrases that use adjective forms of the parts: "carapacial length," "abdominal length," and "areolar length."

A Google Scholar search for these phrases produces the following percentages of use compared to ones not using adjective forms:

"carapacial length": 3%, "abdominal length": 34%, and "areolar length": 9%.

So what's correct? Are both forms ok to use? Is this perhaps a case of widespread use of improper grammar?

  • 1
    Rule of thumb: Use the noun form if you present a property determined according to what you feel is a correct measurement method, but there is no official measurement standard (or you don't use it). Use the adjective form when following a generally established standard. In the former case you measure an object. In the latter, you present a property named after given object but not necessarily being the property of that object directly (say, length of whole body along the carapace axis, vs length of carapace).
    – SF.
    Mar 17 '21 at 14:32
  • @SF. why not putting that as an answer? I was going to write an answer identical to your comment, but you having written it first should put it up.
    – NofP
    Jan 9 at 23:21

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