English grammar

Module 1, Nouns, Lesson 6:

Compound Nouns

Score:
English grammar
Definition:
A compound noun is a noun made up of two or more words. Each word makes up part of the meaning of the noun.

Compound nouns can be written three ways:

A single word: Haircut
Dropcloth
Two words: Rain forest
Ice cream
Hyphenated: Self-esteem
Brother-in-law
Hint:
Single-word compound and hyphenated compounds are easy to spot. Two-word compounds can be tricky. Often they can be confused with adjectives describing nouns. Ask yourself, "Would I find that word in the dictionary?" For example, cold water is water that is cold. Ice cream is not cream that is ice. To check the spelling of a compound noun, check the dictionary.

Proper nouns such as names and places can also be classified as compound nouns.

Hint:
A compound noun is the sum of its two parts. Just because you can divide a word into two other words doesn't make it compound.

When making a compound noun plural, if the noun is one word, add s to the end. If it is two words or hyphenated, add s to the part that is plural, not the whole noun.

one director general ... two directors general (there are two directors, not two generals)
one mother-in-law ... two mothers-in-law (there are two mothers, not two laws)

Practice What You've Learned

English grammar

Part 1

Directions:
Click on the compound nouns in the sentences. If the compound nouns are written as two words, make sure you click on both parts.
1.
We watched the angry blue jays chase each other around the backyard.
2.
My sister-in-law loves to watch football on her wide-screen television.
3.
The lawyer presented the fingerprint as evidence to the grand jury in the courtroom.
4.
For Halloween, we decorate jack-o'-lanterns and hang pictures of witches on broomsticks.
5.
We gathered seashells on the beach below the lighthouse.
6.
Be careful going to the swimming pool. I saw a rattlesnake near the clothesline.
7.
The bystanders near the bus stop saw the accident.
8.
You will need the software in order to install that new keyboard.
9.
My little sister got a jack-in-the-box for her birthday.
10.
My half brother is running for the position of vice president in our club.

Part 2

Directions:
Choose the correct spelling of the compound word.
11.
evergreen ... ever green ... ever-green
12.
drumstick ... drum stick ... drum-stick
13.
firefly ... fire fly ... fire-fly
14.
kneecap ... knee cap ... knee-cap
15.
lighthouse ... light house ... light-house
16.
shellfish ... shell fish ... shell-fish
17.
swimmingpool ... swimming pool ... swimming-pool
18.
busstop ... bus stop ... bus-stop
19.
seaweed ... sea weed ... sea-weed
20.
sixyearold ... six year old ... six-year-old

Part 3

Directions:
Choose the correct plural spelling.
21.
city-states ... cities-state
22.
jack-o'-lanterns ... jacks-o'-lantern
23.
passerbys ... passersby
24.
son-in-laws ... sons-in-law
25.
toothbrushes ... toothsbrushes ... teethbrushes
26.
attorneys at law ... attorney at laws
27.
runner-ups ... runners-up
28.
hand-me-downs ... hands-me-down
29.
gets-together ... get-togethers
30.
workmans ... worksman ... workmen
Score: