A submitted review of a scenic drive in South Korea mentioned the
located along the way.
Most of us unhesitatingly say
but why do we, and why does convenience stores sound so wrong?
Most N stores tell us what items are sold in that store: grocery, hardware, liquor, drug, (I suspect there’s an extra word here eg sporting) goods, jewelry (I use jewellery) and food, but some don’t: a department store doesn’t sell departments, but is divided into departments, a chain store doesn’t sell chains, but is part of a chain of stores, and a convenience store doesn’t sell convenience (well, sort of), but is … convenient.
On the other hand, most ADJ stores describe the store, but some may be speaking metaphorically: general, retail (I would classify this as a noun, but Google Ngrams thinks it’s an adjective), great, new, good, little, large, small, rich and vast. Overall, N store and ADJ store are roughly equivalent in usage; grocery store and department store are by far the most common, but from then on it’s very close.
Our niece told me that the nearest Korean equivalent is 편의점 (pyeon-e-jeom) and that 편의 means convenience, which I didn’t know. Korean textbooks generally explain the inter-relation between words. I had said 화장실 (hwa-jang-sil) so many times before discovering that 화장 means make up and 화장실 means make-up room.
So why does convenient store sound so wrong? I don’t have an answer to that. Is it simply (lack of) familiarity?
Also, by itself, I would usually say shop rather than store, but convenience shop sounds almost as wrong as convenient store. I would also not say department shop or chain shop. To me, a chain shop is even more strongly a shop where you buy chains.