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Compound Words In English


(A Book By Manik Joshi)


"Compound Words In English:
Vocabulary Building"

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[Series Name: 'English Word Power' | Book No: 10]



Sample This:


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 Speech

Compound words are mostly nouns, adjectives, and verbs.


Kinds of Compound Words

Compound 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 sister


Some general rules regarding use of hyphens:-

Compound Adjectives are often hyphenated.

If compound adjective precedes a noun, they are hyphenated


low-paying job [low- paying is a compound adjective; job is a noun]

good-looking celebrity [good-looking is a compound adjective; celebrity is a noun]


Adverbs that end in –ly and compounded with another modifier are generally not hyphenated:


deeply held beliefs

genetically modified foods

highly placed sources

quietly organized meeting




1. Some compound words may have more than one form but these forms may belong to different parts of speech.



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]




E-Book Listing

Price: $2.99

 Amazon Apple Nook
  Pothi Smashwords
Kobobooks Overdrive Google

Print Book Listing

Price: $8.99

Barnes & Noble Amazon

Print on Demand

[Series Name: 'English Word Power' | Book No: 10]


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