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What is a Compound Noun? Definition, Types & Examples

Learning English with The AN and freSy

Compound nouns are used to identify a class of people, places, things or a particular name. It is an important topic for all students, especially for those who are preparing for competitive examinations. One or more questions from this topic are asked in every competitive examination.

What is a Compound Noun?

A compound noun is a type of noun that is formed by combining two or more words to create a new noun. There are three types of compound nouns, including Open or spaced compound nouns, hyphenated compound nouns, and closed or solid compound nouns.

Definition of Compound Noun:

“Compound Noun is a noun that is made with two or more words together.”

We can also say – “Compound Nouns are made by joining more than one word together.”

Types of Compound Nouns

There are three main types of Compound Nouns.

  1. Closed or Solid Compound Nouns
  2. Spaced or Open Compound Nouns
  3. Hyphenated Compound Nouns

Closed or Solid Compound Nouns

Closed or Solid Compound Noun is made up by joining two words without any spaces or hyphens.

Examples: Sunflower, Football, Bathroom, Rainfall etc.

Spaced or Open Compound Nouns

It is made up of joining two words with a space.

Examples : Cricket bat, Fast food, Ice cream, Rain forest etc.

Hyphenated Compound Nouns

Hyphenated Compound Noun is made up by joining two or more words by a hyphen.

Examples : Mother-in-law, Self – esteem, Father-in-law etc.

Compound Nouns Examples

Washing machine, Greenhouse, Dining – table, Bus stop, Swimming pool, Sunrise, Sunset, Blackboard, Whiteboard, Mother – in – law, Output, Check – out, Check-in, Haircut, Hotspot, Smartphone, Hardware, Long lasting, Underline, Underground, Shutdown, Input, Overthrow.

Forming Compound Nouns with all Parts of Speech

Compound Nouns can be formed by combining different parts of speech such as noun, verb, preposition and adjective. Here we form compound Nouns with the help of all parts of speech. A compound noun can be a common noun, proper noun or an abstract noun.

Noun + Noun

Noun Noun Compound Noun
Bus Stop Bus stop
Foot Ball Football
Air Port Airport
Basket Ball Basketball
Railway Station Railway station

Noun + Verb

Noun Verb Compound Noun
Sun Rise Sunrise
Sun Set Sunset
Foot Print Footprint
Snow Fall Snowfall
Rain Fall Rainfall

Noun + Preposition

Noun Preposition Compound Noun
Mother in – law Mother – in – law
Son in – law Son – in – law
Brother in – law Brother – in – law

Preposition + Verb

Preposition Verb Compound Noun
In Put Input
Out Put Output
In Take Intake
Over Throw Overthrow

Verb + Preposition

Verb Preposition Compound Noun
Check In Check-in
Check Out Check–out
Break Down Breakdown
Build Up Build up
Shut Down Shutdown

Preposition + Noun

Preposition Noun Compound Noun
Under Line Underline
Under Ground Underground
Off Shore Offshore
Up Stairs Upstairs
Over Night Overnight

Adjective + Noun

Adjective Noun Compound Noun
Black Board Blackboard
White Board Whiteboard
Hard Ware Hardware
Hot Spot Hotspot
Soft Ware Software

Adjective + Verb

Adjective Verb Compound Noun
Long Lasting Long-lasting
Ever Lasting Everlasting
High Light Highlight
Long Awaited Long awaited

List of Compound Nouns

Washing machine, Greenhouse, Dining – table, Bus stop, Swimming pool, Sunrise, Sunset, Blackboard, Whiteboard, Mother – in – law, Output, Check – out , Check – in , Haircut , Hotspot, Smartphone , Hardware, Long lasting, Underline, Underground, Shutdown, Input, Overthrow.

Rules for Compound Noun

  1. When the compound noun is singular or a single word, make it plural by adding s to the end.

    Examples:

    Underline – underlines

    Hotspot – hotspots

  2. When the compound noun is hyphenated or separated, make it plural by adding s to the word that is plural.

    Examples:

    Mother-in-law = Two mothers-in-law

Difference between Compound Nouns and Collective Noun

A collective noun is a single word which refers to a group or a team and that can be singular or plural.

Examples:

flock = A group of birds

Troop = A group of army

Team = A group of player

A compound noun is made up of more than one word.

Examples:

Blackboard = black + board

Ice cream = Ice + cream

Overnight = over + night

Practice Questions/Quiz

Read the sentences carefully and identify the compound nouns given below.

  1. Write something on the blackboard.
  2. My teacher had a heart attack.
  3. They swim in the swimming pool.
  4. Rahul’s father-in-law went to America last month.
  5. My friend booked a dining – table for his colleagues in a restaurant.
  6. In 2022, Argentina won the FIFA football match.
  7. Do not drive without a driving licence.
  8. Please underline the word.
  9. Due to inflation, many Chinese companies shut down their company.
  10. She is my mother-in-law.
Answer
  1. blackboard
  2. heart attack
  3. swimming pool
  4. father – in – law
  5. dining – table
  6. football
  7. driving licence.
  8. underline
  9. shutdown
  10. mother-in-law.

FAQs on Compound Noun

A compound Noun is a noun that is made with two or more words together.

Compound Nouns are made by joining more than one word together.

Compound nouns are formed by combining two or more words to create a single noun that represents a specific concept or thing. Here are 10 examples of compound nouns:

  1. Toothbrush: A brush for cleaning teeth.
  2. Bookstore: A store where books are sold.
  3. Raincoat: A coat designed to keep you dry in the rain.
  4. Mailbox: A box for receiving mail.
  5. Lighthouse: A tall structure with a light to guide ships.
  6. Soccer ball: A ball used in the game of soccer.
  7. Airplane: A powered flying vehicle.
  8. Coffee cup: A cup for drinking coffee.
  9. Firefighter: A person who fights fires.
  10. Hairbrush: A brush for grooming hair.

Compound nouns are common in English and help to describe a wide range of objects, concepts, and activities. They can be written as one word, hyphenated, or as separate words, depending on the specific compound and language conventions.

A compound noun is a noun that is formed by combining two or more words to create a single noun that represents a specific concept or thing. These words can be written as one word, hyphenated, or as separate words, depending on the specific compound and language conventions. Compound nouns are used to describe a wide range of objects, concepts, and activities. For example, “toothbrush” is a compound noun formed by combining “tooth” and “brush” to describe the tool used for cleaning teeth.

In IELTS, a “compound noun” is when two or more words combine to form a single noun. Understanding and using compound nouns correctly is essential for both written and spoken English proficiency, as they often appear in various IELTS exam sections. Examples include “healthcare system,” “technology advancements,” and “income inequality.”

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