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Kinal Education Technical Education Center Teacher: Manrique vila Technical English

Compound Nouns

Diego Alejandro Garca Portillo 2010039 Guatemala 18 de Julio 2011


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.

Compound Nouns
A compound noun is a noun that is made with two or more words. A compound noun is usually [noun + noun] or [adjective + noun], but there are other combinations (see below). It is important to understand and recognize compound nouns. Each compound noun acts as a single unit and can be modified by adjectives and other nouns.

Compound Noun List

Here are types of compound words and examples. The asterisks indicate types of compound words that may be compound nouns. adjective/adjective - blue-green, adjective/noun - blackboard, full moon adjective/preposition - forthwith adjective/verb - dry-cleaning, highlight noun/adjective - snow white noun/noun - toothpaste, football, fish tank noun/preposition (adverb) - love-in, hanger on, passer-by noun/verb - haircut, browbeat, rainfall preposition/adjective - over-ripe preposition (adverb)/noun - underground, underworld, bystander, onlooker preposition/preposition - without preposition (adverb)/verb - output, undercut, outlook, overthrow verb/adjective - tumbledown verb/noun - swimming pool, breakwater, washing machine

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: afterthought; anytime; anywhere; awestruck; backup; backyard; beforehand; breakdown; breathtaking; buildup (also build-up); burnout; byproduct (also by-product); cannot; caregiver; carryover; checkout; churchgoer; citywide; cleanup; colorblind; cooperative (but co-op in its shortened form); copyedit (also copy-edit); countryside; coworker (also co-worker); bankcard; database (also data base); daycare (also day care); daylong; easygoing; extracurricular; falloff; freelance; frontline (also front line); fundraiser (also fund-raiser); fundraising (also fund-raising); ghostwrite; nonconforming; nonconformity; nonetheless; nonprofit; notwithstanding; nowhere; officeholder; onboard (also on-board); ongoing; online; overexposure; overgeneralization; overgeneralize; paperwork (also paper work); percent; policymaker, policymaking (also policy-making); postscript; preempt, preemptive; printout; proactive (also pro-active); proofread; pothole; redheaded (but redhaired); rollout; schoolmate; schoolroom; schoolteacher; schoolwork; schoolyard (but school day and school year); somewhere; spreadsheet; springtime; statewide; stockholder; stockroom (also stock room); storyteller; summertime; tablecloth; thereof; timesaving; tossup; turnaround; waitperson; webpage (also web page and Web page); website (also web site and Web site); weekday; weekend; weeklong; whiteout; wintertime; workbench; workday; workflow (but paper flow); workforce; workgroup (also work group); workload; workout; workplace (also work place); workroom; worksheet; workstation; worktable; workweek; workwoman; wrongdoing; yearlong

The hyphenated form: In which two or more words are connected by a

hyphen. Compounds that contain affixes, such as house-build(er) and singlemind(ed)(ness), as well as adjective-adjective compounds and verb-verb

compounds, such as blue-green and freeze-dried, are often hyphenated. Compounds that contain articles, prepositions or conjunctions.
able-bodied; absent-minded; ad-lib; A-frame; check-in; child-care (as an adjective; also childcare as an adjective; child care as a noun); clean-cut; clearing-house (also clearinghouse); close-up; co-op (but cooperative in its long form, and cooperate as a verb); email (also e-mail); empty-handed; free-for-all; get-together; get-tough; G-string; half-mast; half-staff; hand-picked; hanky-panky; hard-core (also hardcore); hi-fi; high-tech; ho-hum; hush-hush; indepth; in-law; know-how; life-size; mind-blowing; mindboggling; mother-in-law; narrow-minded; nitty-gritty; not-forprofit; on-site; one-sided; passer-by; pell-mell; pooh-pooh; red-haired (but redheaded); red-hot; re-elect, re-election; roly-poly; second-rate; self-service; shrink-wrap; sign-in; signon; soft-spoken; start-up (also startup); straight-laced; strongarm; strong-willed; time-consuming; T-shirt; U-boat; U-turn; V-neck; voice-over; vote-getter; walk-through (as a noun); warm-up; weak-kneed; well-being; well-to-do; wheeler-dealer; word-of-mouth; worn-out;


Teacher: write-out; year-end

The open or spaced form: Consisting of newer combinations of usually

longer words.

Examples: African American (also African-American); after all (also afterall); cash flow; child care (as a noun; child-care or childcare as an adjective); help desk; life span; mind frame; more so; on site (but on-site review); paper flow (but workflow); profit sharing (but profit-sharing arrangement); pro forma; pro rata; school day; school year ( but schoolmate; schoolroom; schoolteacher; schoolwork; schoolyard); time frame; time line; time saver; touch point; vice president (and similar terms--formerly hyphenated compounds); voice mail; waiting room; word processing (but wordprocessed material); work release


I hope this work will do much to my course and to improve my English.