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Compound Noun: What Is It formation & Examples

Compound Noun: What Is It formation & Examples

We sometimes place one noun in front of another noun or adjective in front of a noun and several other types of combinations that will give more precise information about that person or thing. For example, we can combine the noun car with another noun park that works as a single unit, i.e., car park; this means a car park is a place where we park cars. This combination of car and park made a new noun, car park, called a compound noun. 


Definition of Compound Noun

The combination of two or more words to make a noun that works as a single unit is called a compound noun. Compound nouns tell us from what something is made, where something is when something happens, or what someone does. 
Compound nouns may consist of a single word; some can be written as separate words, and others have a hyphen.

Examples of Compound Nouns 

Arm + chair= armchair
Blackboard
Fountainpen 
Forget-me-not
Merry-go-round
Penknife
Railway
Rainbow 
Schoolgirl
Snowball
Snowman 
Touch-me-not
Air-traffic controller
Coffee-house
Eye-glass
Flower-garden
Lamp-oil
Race-horse
Moonlight
Timetable
Ice-cream
Gunpowder
Schoolmaster
Shopkeeper
Housemaid
Seashore
Postcard
Newspaper
Steam-engine
Night train
Apple-tree
Sand-storm
Postman
Postmark
Postmaster
Gentleman
Forehead
Dining room
Breakfast
Housewife
Schoolroom
Toothbrush
Office-worker 
fish-farm
oil-rig 

Compound nouns consist of a single word are a bathroomtableclothtoothbrushbedroom, etc.

Compound nouns consist of two separate words are waste paperwater bottledining room, etc.

Compound nouns separated by a hyphen are father-in-lawcheck-inwindow-cleaner, etc.

How to Form a Compound Noun



Compound nouns are formed with different types of combinations. Some of these combinations are noun + nounadjective + nounnoun + verbnoun + prepositionnoun + prepositional phrase, noun + adverb, verb + noun. From the above combinations, noun + noun and adjective + noun is the most commonly used combining strategy of forming a compound noun.
There are some ways in which these combinations can be used.
1. When the second noun is part of the first noun. For example
shop window 
picture frame 
college library 
school bell 
garden gate 
2. When the first noun in a compound can indicate the place of the second noun. For example
city street 
comer shop 
country lane
3. The first noun can indicate the time of the second. For example
Sunday magazine 
winter holiday
4. The second noun is made of the material express by the first noun.
gold medal
bricks wall
5. The first word can indicate the purpose of the second.
tin opener
notice board
coffee cup

Noun + Noun
A significant number of compound nouns are formed with this combination.

Examples
Bathroom
Fireman 
Football 
hall door
petrol pump
traffic warden
kitchen table
hitch-hiker
winter clothes
Toothpaste 
Table cloth 
Table tennis 
Handbag 
Headlight  
Coal mine 
Shopkeeper
Bedroom
Wallpaper
Picture book
website 
Ticket inspector
bookshelf
Sometimes the possessive form of the first noun is used in a compound noun when the first noun is the user of the thing expressed in the second noun or when the first noun is the producer of the item described in the second noun. 
a baby's bedroom (baby is the user of the second noun bedroom)
a women's clinic
lamb's wool
goat's milk (goat is the producer of the milk)
hen's eggs

Ing- form + Noun or Adjective + Noun and Gerund + Noun
The -ing form is sometimes called a gerundverbal noun, or -ing noun. The -ing form usually tells the function of a noun that follows it. 

Examples
Whiteboard
drinking water
Redhead 
Working party
Blackberry
Quicksilver 
living room
Swimming pool
Greenhouse
Turning point
risk-taking
fly-fishing
film-making
coal-mining
life-saving
surf-riding
weight-lifting
fruit picking
printing machine
advertising campaign
mailing list
drilling machine
selling cost
waiting list
six-pack
blackboard
blackbird
mobile phone
small talk
Besides these two most common combination methods, there are several other combinations through which compound nouns are formed below.

Noun + Verb
Rainfall
Sunset 
Haircut
Noun + Preposition
Hanger-on
Passerby 
Noun + Prepositional Phrase
Father-in-law 
Mother-in-law  
Sister-in-law
Noun + Adverb  
Hanger on
Passerby 
Runner-up 
Verb + Noun 
Washing machine
Driving license

Rules of Making Plural of Compound Nouns 

Compound nouns that constitute one or more words can be made plural by adding "s" or "-es" to the principle word.

 

Singular Plural
Push-up Push-ups
Boyfriend Boyfriends
Teapot Teapots
Football Footballs
Bookcase Bookcases
Bus Stop Bus Stops
Bedroom Bedrooms
Bus Driver Bus Drivers
Tea-leaf Tea-leaves
Summer Party Summer Parties


But if the first part is the main word followed by a modifier to make them plural add "s" to the chief word.

Singular Plural
Father-in-law Fathers-in-law
Commander-in-chief Commanders-in-chief
Stepson Stepsons

The plural of a compound noun formed from the combination -ing form/adjective + noun is made by adding "s" or "-es" to the singular noun.

Examples 

Singular Plural
Rocking-horse Rocking-horses
Darkroom Darkrooms
Dining room Dining rooms

 


Others make their plural by making the principal word plural without adding "s" or "es."


Examples 
Singular Plural
Dormouse Dormice
Frenchman Frenchmen
Man-farmer Men-farmer

The following compound nouns cannot be used in plural form.

Software

Dry-cleaning

Rainfall

train-spotting

Compound Nouns Examples in Sentences

  • Do you need a water bottle?
  • Their home has four bedrooms
  • They play football today.
  • She has a collection of teapots.
  • Did you install this software on your computer?
  • Could you clean the blackboard, please?
  • I grow a lot of vegetables in my greenhouse
  • They always eat breakfast early in the morning.
  • She has cleaned the washing machine.
  • I asked to be put on their mailing list
  • The workmen set out at sunset for a night's shift. 
  • The dormice often come out at night.
  • 700 mm is the average annual rainfall in our region.

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