Today’s morning name, the C[ount] noun non-profit, as in this real-life example (lifted from this very blog):

Partners of the Common Cents Lab are tech companies, banks, credit unions, non-profits, and government organizations

And in this NOAD entry:

adj. nonprofit [AZ: very frequently non-profit]: [attributive] not making or conducted primarily to make a profit: charities and other nonprofit organizations. noun mainly North American a nonprofit organization: I spent the next six years working for small nonprofits.

(With clearly C noun occurrences boldfaced)

On a separate front, I can report that this noun came to me — who knows from where — on awakening this morning from a stunningly satisfying sex dream, maybe better described as an intense romance dream with penises in it: smiling, kissing, Alex and Joe — Alex is my sex name, Joe  is Tony’s sex name in the dream (don’t bother asking about Tony) — affectionately wrapped up in each other’s arms, negligent dirty talk, slow intense man-on-man sex wreathed in more smiles and kisses. So I wake up, panting some, my briefs pleasantly wet and the word non-profit dinging in my head.

Both parts of this, the word and the Big Gay Dream, are gifts. The word brought me to this posting, which ends up being about what I’ve called beheadings; see below. And then Alex and Joe were slipping and sliding through one of the great sex dreams of my life, which turns out to be only a tiny part of a giant package of suddenly smooth, even pleasurable, functioning after years of increasing pain and disability for my body and distress for my mind.

Sunshine and blue skies. This moment, this plateau, of relief comes to me partly as better living through chemistry, a gift from the prednisone that I went back on a week ago (as something of a blind stab at maybe halting kidney failure, but also as something pretty much guaranteed to be of help with at least part of my array of apparently intractable, chronically painful and physically constraining afflictions). One of these afflictions — terrible balance problems, going back years — had mysteriously started to vanish a week before I started the prednisone, then the steroid wrought its magic, bit by bit: within a few hours, the joint and muscle pain that had made it so hard for me to walk at all or sleep lying down in bed melted away, and after that other things, small and large, cleared up.

Among the improvements was my mystery paradoxical dyspnea, a breathing affliction of many years’ duration, which seems to have vanished completely, at least for the moment. This despite the fact that previous courses of prednisone had had no effect whatsoever on the dyspnea and despite the fact that I had worked out a reasonable account of the cause of the dyspnea (a form of bronchiolitis — not treatable, but also not likely to kill me), which would not, however, have been affected by prednisone.

There’s more, vast amounts more, some of it kind of goofy (I hope to post about my sex sweat on another occasion). But, physically, I haven’t felt this good for a great many years. I’m pathetically, inexpressibly happy.

Plus: so far without the evil effects of prednisone. I’m hugely more alert and focused and able to do my writing. I can easily stay up past 7 p.m. but then fall into a good sleep at will and get up after about 8 hours. My sex drive is back to where I think it should be. Meanwhile, I haven’t slipped into drug-induced bipolar disorder (a problem in the past) or vivid disabling hallucinations (ditto). The calcium is probably once again leaching from my bones, but if I’m going to die anyway within a few years and I continue to use walkers (so I don’t fall), what the hell.

Yes, it cannot last. It’s an astounding brief moment of sunshine and blue skies before the storms rage again. Maybe a few more days, maybe a month, maybe several months.

In the meantime, be happy for me.

I’ll try to give you some more bulletins. But now, back to those beheaded non-profits.

No profits. The NOAD entry, minus cites (I will give you all the cites you could reasonably want very shortly):

adj. nonprofit [AZ: very frequently non-profit]: [attributive] not making or conducted primarily to make a profit. noun mainly North American a nonprofit organization.

First observation. The spelling as solid (nonprofit) or hyphenated (non-profit) is a matter of no consequence. If you want to puzzle over or pontificate about it, please do that somewhere else.

Second observation. Note attributive: the adjective is freely used in construction with a noun, modifying it (a non-profit corporation), but is rarely, though occasionally, used predicatively (invented example jiggled to improve acceptability: Fairy Friends is non-profit and fairy-operated; real-life example: What does it mean when an organization is non-profit?).

Third observation. More significant. The canonical collocation is with the head noun organization (BrE organisation); other heads include corporation, business, foundation, group, association, institute, program.

Fourth observation. On the relationship between the adjective and the noun. We then have a composite C[ount] nominal expression with two parts —

(modifier) Adj nonprofit + (C head) N (canonically, organization)

providing the basis for a derivative C N nonprofit. Viewing the matter processually, the head N of the base expression is axed, leaving its companion part to serve as a C N with the semantics of the base.

This is derivative morphology, but it’s subtractive. Ordinary derivation is affixal, additive. Zero derivation, or conversion, is quite common in English: in verbing and nouning, in particular. This subtractive morphology — which I’ve called beheading (there’s a Page on beheading on this blog) — just takes an extra step. (In case you were wondering, there are other types of subtractive morphology.)

Examples. You want examples, I’ve got examples. These are, I believe, all the examples of nonprofit / non-profit in postings on this blog. Solid spellings first, then hyphenated ones. Noun examples (derived by beheading) in boldface.


New Harvest, the world’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research

Although some NGOs are for-profit corporations, the vast majority are nonprofit organizations

[Leonine Public Affairs] works with clients ranging from large corporations to small nonprofits across the United States

The [HOLLYWOOD] sign is protected and promoted by The Trust For Public Land, a nonprofit organization

[Lisa Cron has worked] as a story coach for writers, nonprofits, educators, and journalists

Maggie [Larson] writes and plays music, performs improv comedy, makes earrings, and works at an education nonprofit

DQ was founded in San Francisco in 1992 by Tom Rielly and Karen Wickre as a national nonprofit network of gay techies

It also houses the nonprofit City Lights Foundation, which publishes selected titles related to San Francisco culture

Senator Chuck Schumer suggests creating a nonprofit corporation to fund new rail tunnels under the House

EMP Museum is a nonprofit museum [in Seattle WA], dedicated to contemporary popular culture

the nonprofit Global Animal Partnership, which contracts with third-party certifiers and administers the company’s rating system for humanely raised animal products [I read this as having Global Animal Partnership modified by nonprofit, rather than being in apposition to the nonprofit, but you might see the other reading]

[Habib] served as the Vice President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC); a nonprofit which works to improve quality of life, experiences, wages, and safety of current and future adult performers

Explor-A-Ganza event (Cedar Valley Nonprofit Association in Northeast Iowa)

Wholesome Wave, a nonprofit sustainable food advocacy group that has forged partnerships with health care providers nationwide to prescribe and make farm-fresh produce available in low-income communities

Daniel Kaufman, a linguist who directs the Endangered Language Alliance, a nonprofit institute on West Eighteenth Street

How to Fund Raise Effectively for a Nonprofit Organization

the Olana Partnership, the nonprofit group that supports the historic site

Nancy Webster, executive director of the conservancy, a nonprofit group that supports the 1.3-mile waterfront park

826 National is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students, ages 6–18, with expository and creative writing

employees of nonprofits and NGOs

working with community-based nonprofit programs that have a good record of helping cash-strapped property owners restore their homes


a campaign in support of the medical non-profit Operation Smile [I read this as having Operation Smile as in apposition to the medical non-profit rather than being modified by it]

Revive & Restore, the leading non-profit organization working to bring biotechnologies to wildlife conservation.

PAWS, a Chicago non-profit that places rescued dog

Partners of the Common Cents Lab are tech companies, banks, credit unions, non-profits, and government organizations

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company is a non-profit theatre company located at 641 D Street NW in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

The Montalvo Arts Center is a non-profit center for the arts in Saratoga, California

Mom-mentum: A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing leadership, education, and advocacy to support mothers in meeting today’s personal and professional challenges

The American Family Association (AFA) is a United States non-profit organization that promotes fundamentalist Christian values

…  the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden. The non-profit foundation has restored the formal gardens to the original plans

Channel 101, a non-profit monthly short film festival

The Endangered Language Fund (ELF) [founded 1997] is a small non-profit organization based in New Haven, Connecticut

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a global set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation [I read this as having modification rather than apposition, but you might read it the other way]

… Wycliffe Cherian. It is a faith-based non-profitable organisation [a rare instance of non-profitable]

The European Association of Urology (EAU) is a non-profit organisation committed to the representation of urology professionals worldwide

Ronzo is an independent, non-profit [British] artist that exists because this fragile Earth deserves a voice [note: the artist as organization]

[Lollapalooza] has also provided a platform for non-profit and political groups

I have worked in businesses, non-profits and academic

One Response to “non-profits”

  1. Mark Mandel Says:

    I am a linguist, but for me by far the best part of this article was

    “a giant package of suddenly smooth, even pleasurable, functioning after years of increasing pain and disability for my body and distress for my mind.“

    “But, physically, I haven’t felt this good for a great many years. I’m pathetically, inexpressibly happy.”

    “In the meantime, be happy for me.”

    I am, I am! And hoping and wishing for it to be a long-lasting set of improvements.


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