A compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more words. The words that form compound nouns may be joined together, separated or hyphenated.
Examples: Joined: bookcase, blackboard, pushcart
Separated: high school, rabbit hutch, radar gun
Hyphenated: go-getter, mother-in-law, sergeant –at-arms
Compound nouns are usually a combination of two or more word classes.
The most common combinations are as follows;
- a) Some are formed by joining a noun with another noun.
Most of these compound nouns take their plurals in the last words.
Examples: Tableroom (s) grassroot (s) prizefighter(s)
Cubboard (s) policeman/men rubber-stamp (s)
Bookcase(s) farmhouse (s) sanitary towel (s)
Cowshed (s) fruit machine (s) shoulder blade (s)
- b) Some are formed by joining a verb and an adverb.
Most of these compound nouns also take their plurals in the last words.
Breakfast (s) push-up (s) rundown (s)
Takeaway (s) knockout (s) slip-up (s)
Sit-up (s) meltdown (s)
- c) Some compound nouns are formed by joining an adjective and a noun. Most of these also take their plurals in the last words.
Hotdog(s) polar bear(s) safe guard (s)
Highway (s) remote control (s)
Nuclear power right angle (s)
- d) Some are formed by joining a verb and a noun. Most of these also take their plurals in the last words.
Driveway (s) playground (s) spend thrift (s)
Breakdance pushchair (s) go-getter (s)
Mincemeat screwdriver (s)
Password (s) spare wheel (s)
- e) Some ore formed by joining an adverb and a noun.
Most of these also take their plural in the last words
Overdraft (s) overcoats (s) backyards (s)
Backbencher (s) undercoat (s ) backbone (s)
Backlog (s) underwear ( s) oversight ( s)
- f) A few compound nouns are formed by joining an adverb and a verb. These ones also take their plurals in the last words.
Outbreak (s) Backlash ( s) Output ( s)
Outburst (s) Outcast (s) input (s)
- g) A few others are formed by joining a noun and a verb. They also take their plurals in the last words
- h) A number of compound nouns are formed by joining two nouns by use f hyphens and a short preposition in between.
These compound nouns always take their plurals in the first words.
Commander (s) – in- chief Sergeant (s) -at-arms
Underline the compound nouns in the following sentences and write down their plural forms where possible.
- John wants to be a quantity surveyor when he grows up.
- Rainwater had washed away all the top soil.
- The footballer was shown a red card by the referee.
- Neither candidate won the elections, forcing a runoff.
- The goalkeeper saved a penalty in the second half.
- He killed the wild pig with a sledge hammer
- Njoroge’s tape-recorder was stolen yesterday.
- The theatregoer was disappointed with the show
- Size 8’s latest song has caused an uproar
- He attempted a creative writing workshop