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Compound Words in English

Vocabulary Building · English Word Power

by Manik Joshi


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What are "Compound Words"?A compound word consists of two or more base words. Meaning of Compound word is often different from the separate base words.Compound Words and Parts of SpeechCompound words are mostly nouns, adjectives, and verbs.Kinds of Compound WordsCompound words are of three types:(A). Closed Compound Words:Words are joined together. There is no space or hyphen between the words.Examples: firefly / softball / redhead / keyboard / makeup / notebook(B). Hyphenated Compound Words:Words are joined together by a hyphen.Examples: daughter-in-law / over-the-counter / six-year-old(C). Open Compound Words:Words are not joined together. Words are open or separate. In other words, there is a space between the words.Examples: post office / real estate / full moon / half sisterSome general rules regarding use of hyphens:-Compound Adjectives are often hyphenated.If compound adjective precedes a noun, they are hyphenatedExamples:low-paying job [low- paying is a compound adjective; job is a noun]easy-going celebrity [easy-going is a compound adjective; celebrity is a noun]Adverbs that end in –ly and compounded with another modifier are generally not hyphenated:Examples:deeply held beliefsgenetically modified foodshighly placed sourcesquietly organized meetingALSO NOTE:1. Some compound words may have more than one form but these forms may belong to different parts of speech.Examples:bread and butter [open form] [noun]bread-and-butter [closed form] [adjective]charge sheet [open form][noun]chargesheet [closed form] [verb]fast track [open form] [noun]fast-track [hyphenated form] [adjective, verb]first degree [open form] [noun]first-degree [hyphenated form] [adjective]full time [open form] [noun]full-time [hyphenated form] [adjective, adverb]gift wrap [open form] [noun]gift-wrap [hyphenated form] [verb]hard core [open form] [noun]hard-core [hyphenated form] [adjective]hard line [open form] [noun]hard-line [hyphenated form] [adjective]road test [open form] [noun]road-test [hyphenated form] [verb]second hand [open form] [noun]second-home [hyphenated form] [adjective]2. Some compound words which are hyphenated in American English are not hyphenated in British English.Example: cash-back [American English]; cashback [British English]3. Compound words are mainly formed in the following ways:(a). adjective + adjective [example: bittersweet](b). adjective + noun [example: blackboard](c). adjective + verb [example: broadcast](d). adjective + past participle [example: cold-blooded](e). adjective + present participle [example: free-standing](f). adverb (or preposition) + adjective [example: ingrown](g). adverb (or preposition) + noun [example: afterlife](h). adverb (or preposition) + verb [example: cutback](i). adverb + past participle [example: brightly lit](j). adverb + present participle [example: long-lasting](k). noun + adjective [example: blood red](l). noun + adverb (or preposition) [example: hanger-on](m). noun + noun [example: airman](n). noun + verb [example: air-condition](o). noun + past participle [example: sun-dried](p). verb + adverb (or preposition) [example: breakdown](q). verb + noun [example: bathroom](r). gerund + noun [example: bleaching powder](s). noun + gerund [example: air-conditioning]Detailed list of Compound words in Alphabetical Order. [All compound words have been grouped according to the parts of speech they belong to.)

Publication Details

Manik Joshi
Smashwords Edition
Publication Date:
English Word Power


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Manik Joshi (Author)

Manik Joshi was born on Jan 26, 1979 at Ranikhet and is permanent resident of Haldwani, Kumaon zone of India. He is an internet marketer by profession. He is interested in domaining (business of buying and selling domain names), web designing (cre...

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Compound Words in English
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