English for QA Specialists: How to Form Main Phrases

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Any tester, sooner or later, comes across some statements that are somewhat similar in design and length to a real train. Nothing compares, for example, to check storage procedures or passenger view function.

Even when a person understands each word separately, there is a high probability that the whole concept and phrase will be translated incorrectly. The reason for this may be that in technical English, the nouns are dependent on each other in a completely different way than they are in Russian. This complexity is very characteristic of the English commonly used in the IT field.

So what’s the secret of such phrases and statements which contain the nouns only? This is exactly what we will try to make out in our article analyzing technical concepts used by QA specialists during software testing regularly.

#1 Noun’s Noun (Usage of -‘s)

Usually, -‘s is used with nouns that designate people, animals, or places (Ukraine, restaurant).

As a rule, -s shouldn’t be used with nouns defining inanimate objects (except from the point above). But sometimes there are some phrases like a table’s leg. Native speakers may say that even though it will be correct to say “a table leg” or “the leg of a table” according to grammar rules.


  1. Add only the apostrophe (without s) to plural nouns that already end with -s. For example, “the boys’ balls” (not “the boys’s balls”) or “the testers’ fixes” (not “the testers’s fixes”).
  2. Also, there are some cases when nouns have an unusual plural form. For example: be careful not to trip over the children’s shoes. It follows that we have to add ‘s to all the nouns, which plural form is an exception (just like to singular nouns).

#2 Noun + Noun / Noun of Noun

The defect priority/priority of the defect – there is no big difference here. Unless when detecting the structure, you have to take into account the following:

  1. The defect priority – here we have main and dependant word. The main word is the priority (priority of what?).
    Another example is a bug report. Main word is the report. The dependant word “bug” is used as a description that gives an exact characteristic of the word “bug” (what report, what is it about? – about the bug).
  2. The priority of the defect. In this word combination, there is a main and dependant word too. Let’s have a look, which one can be considered as the main one. Undoubtedly, it’s a “priority”. But there are many questions: why is it at the beginning of the structure? Why do we need to use “of”? Why do we need to put “of” before the dependant word?

We have to put the main word before the dependant one since we use the preposition “of”. Well, that’s the entire secret.

But if we can say, for example, defect priority/priority of a defect, then why cannot we say “a message of error” instead of “an error message”? We can if we follow grammar rules! But the fact is, nobody says like that. It is only the question of terminology, and that’s it.

We hope that this material will help not only simplify one’s paperwork in technical English but also improves the general language skill of QA engineers.

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