Compound Nouns compound nouns

A compound noun is a noun that is made with two or more words, often nouns but not always, noun + noun or adjective + noun

noun + noun: bus stop, football, table leg (we don’t say X’a table’s leg’X or X’the leg of the table’X, coffee beans, love story, record player.

(You can also have 2 nouns with an apostrophe + s on the first noun, though these aren’t compound nouns: My brother’s phone, the teacher’s shirt, Craig’s chocolate, Reza’s obsessions.

adjective + noun: whiteboard, software, greyhound.

There are 3 ways of writing compound nouns. Dictionaries don’t always agree

1. separate – full moon, car bomb, video recorder, football stadium (which contains the compound noun “football” within the compound noun!)

2. together – classroom, toothpaste, lighthouse, laptop, tearaway

3. with a hyphen (guión) – check-in, six-pack, water-bottle, carry-on

If you take a phrasal verb and make it a compound noun, generally speaking it has a hyphen.
Compound nouns tend to have more stress on the first word. – classroom, football, table tennis

Changing the stress to the second word can change the meaning: GREENhouse (invernadero) / green HOUSE

ENGLISH teacher – a person who teaches English
English TEACHER – A teacher who is from England

Compound nouns can also be made with a verb and a noun: washing machine, swimming pool, breakfast (this is similar in Spanish des-ayuno)

…..and with a noun and a verb: sunrise, housework, homework, hairstyle, godsend.

…..and with a verb and a preposition: Checkout, check-up, cock-up, breakthrough, layabout.

…..and with a noun and a prepositional phrase: mother-in-law, stick-in-the-mud, snake-in-the-grass, chip off the old block.

…..and with a preposition and a noun: past lives, underworld, overview.

….and with a noun and an adjective: mouthful, handful, spoonful (NB. the adjective “full” is spelt differently in the compound noun “-ful”)

….and with a verb and an adjective: speakeasy, diehard.

….and other miscellaneous combinations: ne’er-do-well, good-for-nothing, whodunnit, telltale.

More compound nouns – Craig describes to Reza, Reza guesses the compound noun


*Dispones de más PODCAST en inglés publicados en los cuadernos anteriores
a los que puedes acceder directamente así como al índice de su contenido.


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