A compound noun is made up of two or more words used together.
Compound nouns can be:
- One word: shoelace, keyboard, flashlight, applesauce, notebook, bedroom
- Hyphenated: boy-friend, baby-sitter, editor-in-chief, great-grandfather
- Two words: police officer, seat belt, high school, word processor, post office
- More words: one hit wonder
There are three forms for compound nouns:
- open or spaced – space between words (tennis shoe)
- hyphenated – hyphen between words (six-pack)
- closed or solid – no space or hyphen between words (bedroom)
Compound nouns are the same as nouns in grammar. The rules that apply to ordinary nouns also apply to compound nouns.
A compound noun is singular when it names only one thing or idea, even though it is made up of more than one word.
- My notebook is full of notes and papers.
- Housework is boring.
- The police officer was very helpful. He made sure I wore a seatbelt.
- My mother is also a great-grandmother.
Compound nouns can be modified by adjectives and nouns. You can use other words to change, describe, or give information about compound nouns.
- yellow schoolbus
- junior high school
- fun baby-sitter
Here are some examples of compound nouns:
|noun||+||noun||bus stop||Is this the bus stop for the number 12 bus?|
|fire-fly||In the tropics you can see fire-flies at night.|
|football||Shall we play football today?|
|adjective||+||noun||full moon||I always feel crazy at full moon.|
|blackboard||Clean the blackboard please.|
|software||I can’t install this software on my PC.|
|verb(-ing)||+||noun||breakfast||We always eat breakfast at 8am.|
|washing machine||Put the clothes in the red washing machine.|
|swimming pool||What a beautiful swimming pool!|
|noun||+||verb(-ing)||sunrise||I like to get up at sunrise.|
|haircut||You need a haircut.|
|train-spotting||His hobby is train-spotting.|
|verb||+||preposition||check-out||Please remember that check-out is at 12 noon.|
|noun||+||prepositional phrase||mother-in-law||My mother-in-law lives with us.|
|preposition||+||noun||underworld||Do you think the police accept money from the underworld?|
|noun||+||adjective||truckful||We need a truckful of bricks.|