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A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. Most compound nouns in English are formed by nouns modified by other nouns or adjectives. For example: The words tooth and paste are each nouns in their own right, but if you join them together they form a new word - toothpaste. The word black is an adjective and board is a noun, but if you join them together they form a new word - blackboard. In both these example the first word modifies or describes the second word, telling us what kind of object or person it is, or what its purpose is. And the second part identifies the object or person in question. Compound nouns can also be formed using the following combinations of words:Noun Adjective Verb Preposition Noun Noun Adjective Preposition + + + + + + + + Noun Noun Noun Noun Verb Preposition Verb Verb toothpaste monthly ticket swimming pool underground haircut hanger on dry-cleaning output
The two parts may be written in a number of ways:1. Sometimes the two words are joined together. Example: tooth + paste = toothpaste | bed + room = bedroom 2. Sometimes they are joined using a hyphen. Example: check-in 3. Sometimes they appear as two separate words. Example: full moon A good dictionary will tell you how you should write each compound noun. A compound is a word composed of more than one free morpheme.
Examples by word class Modifier Head Compound noun noun football adjective noun blackboard verb noun breakwater preposition noun underworld noun adjective snowwhite adjective adjective blue-green verb adjective tumbledown preposition adjective over-ripe noun verb browbeat adjective verb highlight verb verb freeze-dry preposition verb undercut noun preposition love-in adjective preposition forthwith verb preposition takeout preposition preposition without English compounds may be classified in several ways, such as the word classes or the semantic relationship of their components.
1 Compound nouns o 1.1 Types of compound nouns o 1.2 Analyzability (transparency) o 1.3 Sound patterns 2 Compound adjectives o 2.1 Solid compound adjectives o 2.2 Hyphenated compound adjectives 3 Compound verbs o 3.1 Hyphenation o 3.2 Phrasal verbs o 3.3 Misuses of the term 4 See also
 Compound nouns
Most English compound nouns are noun phrases (= nominal phrases) that include a noun modified by adjectives or attributive nouns. Due to the English tendency towards conversion, the two classes are not always easily distinguished. Most English compound nouns that consist of more than two words can be constructed recursively by combining two words at a time. Combining 'science' and 'fiction', and then combining the resulting
compound with 'writer', for example, can construct the compound 'science fiction writer'. Some compounds, such as salt and pepper or mother-of-pearl, cannot be constructed in this way, however.
 Types of compound nouns
Since English is a mostly analytic language, unlike most other Germanic languages, it creates compounds by concatenating words without case markers. As in other Germanic languages, the compounds may be arbitrarily long. However, this is obscured by the fact that the written representation of long compounds always contains blanks. Short compounds may be written in three different ways, which do not correspond to different pronunciations, however:
The ‘solid’ or ‘closed’ forms in which two usually moderately short words appear together as one. Solid compounds most likely consist of short (monosyllabic) units that often have been established in the language for a long time. Examples are housewife, lawsuit, wallpaper, etc. The hyphenated form in which two or more words are connected by a hyphen. Compounds that contain affixes, such as house-build(er) and single-mind(ed)(ness), as well as adjective-adjective compounds and verb-verb compounds, such as bluegreen and freeze-dry, are often hyphenated. Compounds that contain articles, such as mother-of-pearl and salt-and-pepper, are also often hyphenated. The open or spaced form consisting of newer combinations of usually longer words, such as distance learning, player piano, lawn tennis, etc.
Usage in the US and in the UK differs and often depends on the individual choice of the writer rather than on a hard-and-fast rule; therefore, open, hyphenated, and closed forms may be encountered for the same compound noun, such as the triplets container ship/container-ship/containership and particle board/particle-board/particleboard. In addition to this native English compounding, there is the classical type, which consists of words derived from Latin, as horticulture, and those of Greek origin, such as photography, the components of which are in bound form (connected by connecting vowels, which are most often -i- and -o- in Latin and Greek respectively) and cannot stand alone.'
 Analyzability (transparency)
In general, the meaning of a compound noun is a specialization of the meaning of its head. The modifier limits the meaning of the head. This is most obvious in descriptive compounds, also known as karmadharaya compounds, in which the modifier is used in an attributive or appositional manner. A blackboard is a particular kind of board, which is (generally) black, for instance. In determinative compounds, however, the relationship is not attributive. For example, a footstool is not a particular type of stool that is like a foot. Rather, it is a stool for one's foot
or feet. (It can be used for sitting on, but that is not its primary purpose.) In a similar manner, the office manager is the manager of an office, an armchair is a chair with arms, and a raincoat is a coat against the rain. These relationships, which are expressed by prepositions in English, would be expressed by grammatical case in other languages. Compounds of this type are also known as tatpurusha compounds. Both of the above types of compounds are called endocentric compounds because the semantic head is contained within the compound itself -- a blackboard is a type of board, for example, and a footstool is a type of stool. However, in another common type of compound, the exocentric or bahuvrihi compound, the semantic head is not explicitly expressed. A redhead, for example, is not a kind of head, but is a person with red hair. Similarly, a blockhead is also not a head, but a person with a head that is as hard and unreceptive as a block (i.e. stupid). And, outside of veterinary surgery, a lionheart is not a type of heart, but a person with a heart like a lion (in its bravery, courage, fearlessness, etc.). Note in general the way to tell the two apart:
Can you paraphrase the meaning of the compound "[X . Y]" to A person/thing that is a Y, or ... that does Y, if Y is a verb (with X having some unspecified connection)? This is an endocentric compound. Can you paraphrase the meaning if the compound "[X . Y]" to A person/thing that is with Y, with X having some unspecified connection? This is an exocentric compound.
Exocentric compounds occur more often in adjectives than nouns. A V-8 car is a car with a V-8 engine rather than a car that is a V-8, and a twenty-five-dollar car is a car with a worth of $25, not a car that is $25. The compounds shown here are bare, but more commonly, a suffixal morpheme is added, esp. -ed. Hence, a two-legged person is a person with two legs, and this is exocentric. On the other hand, endocentric adjectives are also frequently formed, using the suffixal morphemes -ing or -er/or. A car-carrier is a clear endocentric determinative compound: it is a thing that is a carrier of cars. The related adjective, car-carrying, is also endocentric: it refers to an object, which is a carrying-thing (or equivalent, which does carry). These types account for most compound nouns, but there are other, rarer types as well. Coordinative, copulative or dvandva compounds combine elements with a similar meaning, and the compound meaning may be a generalization instead of a specialization. BosniaHerzegovina, for example, is the combined area of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but a fighterbomber is an aircraft that is both a fighter and a bomber. Iterative or amredita compounds repeat a single element, to express repetition or as an emphasis. Day-by-day and go-go-go are examples of this type of compound, which has more than one head.
Analyzability may be further limited by cranberry morphemes and semantic changes. For instance, the word butterfly, commonly thought to be a metathesis for flutter by, which the bugs do, is actually based on an old bubbe-maise that butterflies are petite witches that steal butter from window sills. Cranberry is a part translation from Low German, which is why we cannot recognize the element cran (from the Low German kraan or kroon, "crane"). The ladybird or ladybug was named after the Christian expression "our Lady, the Virgin Mary". In the case of verb+noun compounds, the noun may be either the subject or the object of the verb. In playboy, for example, the noun is the subject of the verb (the boy plays), whereas it is the object in callgirl (someone calls the girl).
 Sound patterns
A black board is any board that is black, and equal prosodic stress can be found on both elements (or, according to psycholinguist Steven Pinker, the second one is accented more heavily.) A blackboard, the compound, may have started out as any other black board, but now is a thing that is constructed in a particular way, of a particular material and serves a particular purpose; the word is clearly accented on the first syllable. Sound patterns, such as stresses placed on particular syllables, may indicate whether the word group is a compound or whether it is an adjective-+-noun phrase. A compound usually has a falling intonation: "bláckboard", the "Whíte House", as opposed to the phrases "bláck bóárd". (Note that this rule does not apply in all contexts. For example, the stress pattern "whíte house" would be expected for the compound, which happens to be a proper name, but it is also found in the emphatic negation "No, not the black house; the white house!"
 Compound adjectives
English compound adjectives are constructed in a very similar way to the compound noun. Blackboard jungle, leftover ingredients, gunmetal sheen, and green monkey disease are only a few examples.[dubious – discuss] A compound adjective is a modifier of a noun. It consists of two or more morphemes of which the left-hand component limits or changes the modification of the right-hand one, as in "the dark-green dress": dark limits the green that modifies dress.
 Solid compound adjectives
There are some well-established permanent compound adjectives that have become solid over a longer period, especially in American usage: earsplitting, eyecatching, and downtown. However, in British usage, these, apart from downtown, are more likely written with a hyphen: ear-splitting, eye-catching.
Other solid compound adjectives are for example:
Numbers that are spelled out and have the suffix -fold added: "fifteenfold", "sixfold". Points of the compass: northwest, northwester, northwesterly, northwestwards, but not North-West Frontier.
 Hyphenated compound adjectives
A compound adjective is hyphenated if the hyphen helps the reader differentiate a compound adjective from two adjacent adjectives that each independently modify the noun. Compare the following examples:
"acetic acid solution": a bitter solution producing vinegar or acetic acid (acetic + acid + solution) "acetic-acid solution": a solution of acetic acid
The hyphen is unneeded when capitalization or italicization makes grouping clear:
• • •
"old English scholar": an old person who is English and a scholar, or an old scholar who studies English "Old English scholar": a scholar of Old English. "De facto proceedings" (not "de-facto")
If, however, there is no risk of ambiguities, it may be written without a hyphen: Sunday morning walk. Hyphenated compound adjectives may have been formed originally by an adjective preceding a noun:
• • • •
"Round table" → "round-table discussion" "Blue sky" → "blue-sky law" "Red light" → "red-light district" "Four wheels" → "four-wheel drive" (the singular, not the plural, is used)
Others may have originated with a verb preceding an adjective or adverb:
"Feel good" → "feel-good factor" "Buy now, pay later" → "buy-now pay-later purchase"
Yet others are created with an original verb preceding a preposition.
• • • •
"Stick on" → "stick-on label" "Walk on" → "walk-on part" "Stand by" → "stand-by fare" "Roll on, roll off" → "roll-on roll-off ferry"
The following compound adjectives are always hyphenated when they are not written as one word:
• • • •
An adjective preceding a noun to which -d or -ed has been added as a past-participle construction, used before a noun: o "loud-mouthed hooligan" o "middle-aged lady" o "rose-tinted glasses" A noun, adjective, or adverb preceding a present participle: o "an awe-inspiring personality" o "a long-lasting affair" o "a far-reaching decision" Numbers spelled out or as numerics: o "seven-year itch" o "five-sided polygon" o "20th-century poem" o "30-piece band" o "tenth-storey window" A numeric with the affix -fold has a hyphen (15-fold), but when spelled out takes a solid construction (fifteenfold). Numbers, spelled out or numeric, with added -odd: sixteen-odd, 70-odd. Compound adjectives with high- or low-: "high-level discussion", "low-price markup". Colours in compounds: o "a dark-blue sweater" o "a reddish-orange dress". Fractions as modifiers are hyphenated: "five-eighths inches", but if numerator or denominator are already hyphenated, the fraction itself does not take a hyphen: "a thirty-three thousandth part". (Fractions used as nouns have no hyphens: "I ate only one third of the pie.") Comparatives and superlatives in compound adjectives also take hyphens: o "the highest-placed competitor" o "a shorter-term loan" However, a construction with most is not hyphenated: o "the most respected member". Compounds including two geographical modifiers: o "Afro-Cuban" o "African-American" (sometimes) o "Anglo-Asian" But not o "Central American".
The following compound adjectives are not normally hyphenated:
Where there is no risk of ambiguity: o "a Sunday morning walk"
Left-hand components of a compound adjective that end in -ly that modify righthand components that are past participles (ending in -ed): o "a hotly disputed subject" o "a greatly improved scheme" o "a distantly related celebrity" Compound adjectives that include comparatives and superlatives with more, most, less or least: o "a more recent development" o "the most respected member" o "a less opportune moment" o "the least expected event" Ordinarily hyphenated compounds with intensive adverbs in front of adjectives: o "very much admired classicist" o "really well accepted proposal" head examples verb overrate, underline, outrun verb downsize, upgrade verb whitewash, blacklist, foulmouth verb browbeat, sidestep, manhandle noun out-Herod, out-fox
 Compound verbs
modifier preposition A compound verb is usually composed adverb of a preposition and a verb, although adjective other combinations also exist. The term noun compound verb was first used in publication in Grattan and Gurrey's Our preposition Living Language (1925).
From a morphological point of view, some compound verbs are difficult to analyze because several derivations are plausible. Blacklist, for instance, might be analyzed as an adjective+verb compound, or as an adjective+noun compound that becomes a verb through zero derivation. Most compound verbs originally have the collective meaning of both components, but some of them later gain additional meanings that may predominate the original, accurate sense. Therefore, sometimes the resultant meanings are seemingly barely related to the original contributors. Compound verbs composed of a noun and verb are comparatively rare, and the noun is generally not the direct object of the verb. In English, compounds such as *bread-bake or *car-drive do not exist. Yet, we find literal action words, such as breastfeed, taperecord and washing instructions on clothing as for example hand wash.
Compound verbs with single-syllable modifiers are solid, or unhyphenated. Those with longer modifiers may originally be hyphenated, but as they became established, they became solid, e.g.,
overhang (English origin) counterattack (Latin origin)
There was a tendency in the 18th century to use hyphens excessively, that is, to hyphenate all previously established solid compound verbs. American English, however, has diminished the use of hyphens, while British English is more conservative.
 Phrasal verbs
English syntax distinguishes between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs. Consider the following: I held up my hand. I held up a bank. I held my hand up. *I held a bank up. The first three sentences are possible in English; the last one is unlikely. When to hold up means to raise, it is a prepositional verb; the preposition up can be detached from the verb and has its own individual meaning "from lower to a higher position". As a prepositional verb, it has a literal meaning. However, when to hold up means to rob, it is a phrasal verb. A phrasal verb is used in an idiomatic, figurative or even metaphorical context. The preposition is inextricably linked to the verb; the meaning of each word cannot be determined independently but is in fact part of the idiom. The Oxford English Grammar (ISBN 0-19-861250-8) distinguishes seven types of prepositional or phrasal verbs in English:
• • • • • • •
intransitive phrasal verbs (e.g. give in) transitive phrasal verbs (e.g. find out [discover]) monotransitive prepositional verbs (e.g. look after [care for]) doubly transitive prepositional verbs (e.g. blame [something] on [someone]) copular prepositional verbs. (e.g. serve as) monotransitive phrasal-prepositional verbs (e.g. look up to [respect]) doubly transitive phrasal-prepositional verbs (e.g. put [something] down to [someone] [attribute to])
English has a number of other kinds of compound verb idioms. There are compound verbs with two verbs (e.g. make do). These too can take idiomatic prepositions (e.g. get rid of). There are also idiomatic combinations of verb and adjective (e.g. come true, run amok) and verb and adverb (make sure), verb and fixed noun (e.g. go ape); and these, too, may have fixed idiomatic prepositions (e.g. take place on).
 Misuses of the term
"Compound verb" is often used in place of:
1. "complex verb", a type of complex phrase. But this usage is not accepted in
linguistics, because "compound" and "complex" are not synonymous.
2. "verb phrase" or "verbal phrase". This is a partially, but not entirely, incorrect use. A
phrasal verb can be a one-word verb, of which compound verb is a type. However, many phrasal verbs are multi-word. 3. "phrasal verb". A sub-type of verb phrase, which have a particle as a word before or after the verb.
Double-click on any word and see its definition from Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Practise with a grammar game While there are different ways that compound nouns can be formed (using adjectives, prepositions, apostrophes, etc.), we are going to concentrate here on the noun + noun form: bed + room = bedroom; police + officer = police officer, etc. There are three different ways to form this type of compound noun: "the closed form, in which the words are melded together, such as firefly …keyboard … notebook; the hyphenated form, such as sky-scraper … ski-boot … girl-friend; and the open form, such as post office … history book … mineral water." Just exactly how and why these three forms exist is not exactly clear, but it seems likely that the process will begin with two words, become hyphenated after a time, and then eventually end up as just one word. It is curious that even good dictionaries sometimes disagree with how compound nouns should be spelt! In these noun + noun structures, the first noun behaves similarly to an adjective, in that it describes or modifies the second noun: A car park is a place for parking cars; A history book is a book of history. Another issue to consider is pronunciation. Most noun + noun structures have the main stress on the first word: post office; car park; fruit juice. There are, however, quite a few exceptions to this rule: meat pie; garden table.
This type of compound noun is commonly used to classify particular types of things, and especially for well-known "classes" of things: Compare a maths book; a geography book; a physics book, which are all books commonly found in schools, to a book about pollution, NOT a pollution book. We have provided a very basic explanation of this use of compound nouns, an area of grammar that many people consider to be amongst the most difficult. For further information, and some quizzes, please see the following web sites:
In English, words, particularly adjectives and nouns, are combined into compound structures in a variety of ways. And once they are formed, they sometimes metamorphose over time. A common pattern is that two words — fire fly, say — will be joined by a hyphen for a time — fire-fly — and then be joined into one word — firefly. In this respect, a language like German, in which words are happily and immediately linked one to the other, might seem to have an advantage. There is only one sure way to know how to spell compounds in English: use an authoritative dictionary. There are three forms of compound words: the closed form, in which the words are melded together, such as firefly, secondhand, softball, childlike, crosstown, redhead, keyboard, makeup, notebook; the hyphenated form, such as daughter-in-law, master-at-arms, over-the-counter, six-pack, six-year-old, mass-produced; and the open form, such as post office, real estate, middle class, full moon, half sister, attorney general. How a word modified by an adjective — "a little school," "the yellow butter" — is different from a compound word — " a high school," "the peanut butter" — is a nice and philosophical question. It clearly has something to do with the degree to which the preceding word changes the essential character of the noun, the degree to which the modifier and the noun are inseparable. If you were diagramming a sentence with a compound word, you would probably keep the words together, on the same horizontal line. Modifying compounds are often hyphenated to avoid confusion. The New York Public Library's Writer's Guide points out that an old-furniture salesman clearly deals in old furniture, but an old furniture salesman would be an old man. We probably would not have the same ambiguity, however, about a used car dealer. When compounded modifiers precede a noun, they are often hyphenated: part-time teacher, fifty-yard-wide field, fireresistant curtains, high-speed chase. When those same modifying words come after the noun, however, they are not hyphenated: a field fifty yards wide, curtains that are fire resistant, etc. The second-rate opera company gave a performance that was first rate.
Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives are hyphenated when compounded with other modifiers: the highest-priced car, the shorter-term loan. But this is not always the case: the most talented youngster. Adverbs, words ending in -ly, are not hyphenated when compounded with other modifiers: a highly rated bank, a partially refunded ticket, publicly held securities. Sometimes hyphenated modifiers lose their hyphens when they become compound nouns: A clear decision-making process was evident in their decision making. The bluish grey was slowly disappearing from the bluish-grey sky. This is not always so, however: your highrise apartment building is also known as a high-rise. When modifying a person with his or her age, the compounded phrase is hyphenated: my six-year-old son. However, when the age comes after the person, we don't use a hyphen. My son is six years old. He is, however, a six-year-old.
Plurals and Possessives
Most dictionaries will give variant spellings of compound plurals. When you have more than one truck filled with sand, do you have several truckfuls or trucksful? The dictionary will give you both, with the first spelling usually preferred. (And the same is true of teaspoonfuls, cupfuls, etc.) The dictionary will help you discover that only one spelling is acceptable for some compounds — like passersby. For hyphenated forms, the pluralizing -s is usually attached to the element that is actually being pluralized: daughters-in-law, half-moons, mayors-elect. The Chicago Manual of Style says that "hyphenated and open compounds are regularly made plural by the addition of the plural inflection to the element that is subject to the change in number" and gives as examples "fathers-in-law," "sergeants-in-arms," "doctors of philosophy," "and courtsmartial" (196). The NYPL Writer's Guide puts it this way: "the most significant word — generally the noun — takes the plural form. The significant word may be at the beginning, middle, or end of the term" (396). And then we get examples such as "attorneys at law," "bills of fare," chiefs of staff," notaries public," assistant attorneys general," "higher-ups," "also-rans," and "go-betweens." Note: some dictionaries will list "attorney generals" along with "attorneys general" as acceptable plurals of that office. Whether that's a matter of caving in to popular usage or an inability to determine the "significant word" is unknown. As a general rule, then, the plural form of an element in a hierarchical term belongs to the base element in the term, regardless of the base element's placement:
• • • • •
first sergeants sergeants major sergeants first class colonel generals [Russian] lieutenant generals
• • • •
lieutenant colonels apprentice, journeyman, and master mechanics deputy librarians deputy assistant secretaries of state
The possessive of a hyphenated compound is created by attaching an apostrophe -s to the end of the compound itself: my daughter-in-law's car, a friend of mine's car. To create the possessive of pluralized and compounded forms, a writer is wise to avoid the apostrophe -s form and use an "of" phrase (the "post genitive") instead: the meeting of the daughters-inlaw, the schedule of half-moons. Otherwise, the possessive form becomes downright weird: the daughters-in-law's meeting, friends of mine's cars. One of the most difficult decisions to make about possessives and plurals of compound words occurs when you can't decide whether the first noun in a compound structure is acting as a noun that ought to be showing possession or as what is called an attributive noun, essentially an adjective. In other words, do we write that I am going to a writers conference or to a writers' conference? The Chicago Style Manual suggests that if singular nouns can act as attributive nouns — city government, tax relief — then plural nouns should be able to act as attributive nouns: consumers group, teachers union. This principle is not universally endorsed, however, and writers must remember to be consistent within a document. This section does not speak to the matter of compounded nouns such as "Professor Villa's and Professor Darling's classes have been filled." See the section on Possessives for additional help.
Compounds with Prefixes
With a handful of exceptions, compounds created by the addition of a prefix are not hyphenated: anteroom, antisocial, binomial, biochemistry, coordinate, counterclockwise, extraordinary, infrastructure, interrelated, intramural, macroeconomics, metaphysical, microeconomics, midtown, minibike, multicultural, neoromantic, nonviolent, overanxious, postwar, preconference, pseudointellectual, reunify, semiconductor, socioeconomic, subpar, supertanker, transatlantic, unnatural, underdeveloped Exceptions include compounds in which the second element is capitalized or a number: anti-Semitic, pre-1998, post-Freudian compounds which need hyphens to avoid confusion un-ionized (as distinguished from unionized), co-op compounds in which a vowel would be repeated (especially to avoid confusion) co-op, semi-independent, anti-intellectual (but reestablish, reedit) compounds consisting of more than one word non-English-speaking, pre-Civil War compounds that would be difficult to read without a hyphen
pro-life, pro-choice, co-edited Also, when we combine compound nouns, we would use a hyphen with the first, but not the last: when under- and overdeveloped nations get together. . . .
The following table presents a mini-dictionary of compound modifiers and nouns. Perhaps the best use of a very partial inventory like this is to suggest the kinds of words that a writer would be wise either to memorize or to be at least wary of. It is sometimes enough to know when we should get the dictionary off the shelf. 2-year education one-week vacation A-frame African American Air Force all-city tournament attorney general blood pressure blue-green dress bull's-eye database daughter-in-law English-speaking person ex-wife first-rate accommodations football grandmother grant-in-aid great-aunt half sister high-level officials I-beam Italian-American Italian-American club jack-in-the-box lifelike light year mayor-elect salesperson secretary-treasurer stockbroker T-square threefold up-to-the-minute V-formation vice president well-made clothes worldwide inflation X-ray
Notice that African American contains no hyphen, but Italian-American does. There are no hard and fast rules about this, and social conventions change. (There is no hyphen in French Canadian.) Some groups have insisted that they do not want to be known as "hyphenated Americans" and resist, therefore, the use of a hyphen, preferring that the word "American" be used as an adjective. Some resources even suggest that a term like Italian-American should be used only when the individual thus referred to has parents of two different nationalities. That's probably a stretch, but a writer must be aware that sensibilities can be aroused when using nationalities of any description. Consistency within a document is also important.
With a series of nearly identical compounds, we sometimes delay the final term of the final term until the last instance, allowing the hyphen to act as a kind of place holder, as in
• • •
The third- and fourth-grade teachers met with the parents. Both full- and part-time employees will get raises this year. We don't see many 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children around here.
Be careful not to overuse this feature of the hyphen; readers have to wait until that final instance to know what you're talking about, and that can be annoying.
FOR ADDITIONAL HELP
The Chicago Manual of Style contains an extensive section devoted to compounded modifiers and nouns. That book's table of compounds categorizes compounds into various types, and helps us discover principles of spelling (and some really strange exceptions). Styles of compounding words change over the years, however, and writers might even find different versions in different dictionaries. The Chicago Manual is especially helpful because it tries to define the principles by which such decisions are made.
A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. Most compound nouns in English are formed by nouns modified by other nouns or adjectives. For example: The words tooth and paste are each nouns in their own right, but if you join them together they form a new word - toothpaste. The word black is an adjective and board is a noun, but if you join them together they form a new word - blackboard. In both these example the first word modifies or describes the second word, telling us what kind of object or person it is, or what its purpose is. And the second part identifies the object or person in question. Compound nouns can also be formed using the following combinations of words:Noun Adjective Verb Preposition Noun Noun + + + + + + Noun Noun Noun Noun Verb Preposition toothpaste monthly ticket swimming pool underground haircut hanger on
Adjective + Verb Preposition + Verb
The two parts may be written in a number of ways:1. Sometimes the two words are joined together. Example: tooth + paste = toothpaste | bed + room = bedroom 2. Sometimes they are joined using a hyphen. Example: check-in 3. Sometimes they appear as two separate words. Example: full moon A good dictionary will tell you how you should write each compound noun. All words of more than one syllable have what is called word stress. This means that at least one of the syllables is l o n g e r and louder than the other syllables. In the following examples, stressed syllables are in capital letters: audio
Column A PHOtograph PENcil MARyland
Column B phoTOgraphy comMITtee soCIety
Column C photoGRAphic volunTEER inforMAtion
In many cases, word stress must simply be learned as new volcabulary is acquired. However, there are several rules for word stress which can make it easier to deal with. I. Compound Nouns: Listen to the following compound nouns. Can you hear the word stress? audio bluebird blackboard notebook
bookstore toothbrush keyboard In each of these examples, the first part of the compound gets the stress. II. Noun+Noun Compounds (2-word compound nouns) Listen to the following noun+noun compounds. Can you hear which part of the compound gets more stress? audio
air conditioner computer programmer nail polish french fry Geiger counter doctor's office Similar to the rule for compound nouns, the first part of the compound--here, the first word--gets the stress. (Note: If the "unstressed" part of the noun+noun compound is more than one syllable, it will have some word stress. However, the first part of the compound will get even more stress.) III. Phrasal Verbs versus Compound Nouns derived from phrasals
Phrasal verbs (a.k.a. two-word or two-part verbs) are generally made up of a verb and preposition. For many of these, correct word stress is especially important as they have compound noun counterparts. In the following examples, the words on the left are phrasal verbs. The words on the right are nouns. Listen to these examples. audio let down shut out print out turn off letdown shutout printout turnoff
In phrasal verbs, the preposition gets the word stress. If they have a noun counterpart, however, it gets the stress on the first part. IV. Homographs Homographs are words which are written the same way but which have different pronunciation. In English, there are many words which have the same spelling, but whose part of speech changes with the word stress. If you listen carefully, you will hear that the vowel sounds change depending on whether they are stressed or unstressed. audio
VERB record progress present permit
NOUN record progress present permit
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