Compound Words: Do you Know Some?

Forming compound words can be simple if you know the rules. Let the English Forward team show you how.

Hristina Yordanova Written by Hristina Yordanova · 2 min read >
compound verbs

Compound words are an essential part of English language grammar, and in this article, we will take a detailed look at how they are formed, and how to use them. This is an important part of the study of the language, which is usually taught in primary school and high school.

Definition of compound words

In simple terms, compound words are created when a combination of two or more words crate and entirely new word. There will be a number of examples throughout this article.

There are a number of different ways to create a new compound word. Some of them are created by putting a hyphen between two already existing words. Other times, compound words are created by just placing the two words next to each other. You can find more information about the different types of compound words in the English language below.

Types of compound words

There are three distinct types of compound words in English. They are distinguished by the way the new word is formed. This compound words worksheet will help you understand this part of grammar.

Open compound

Open compounds are created by just placing two already existing words next to each other. Examples of compounds formed this way are the following:

  • ice cream
  • real estate
  • post office

As you can see, all of these words can exist both as compound words, and as one word next to the other. Ice cream, real estate, and full moon are just a small fraction of all open compound words.

Closed compound

Closed compound words are created when a new word is formed by merging two other ones together. Closed compound words can either have the same spelling as the original words or exhibit slight changes. Below you will see examples of a compound word selection:

  • hairdresser
  • worksheet
  • postman

Closed compounds combine two words into a single new one. Keep in mind that there are examples of compound words that have a slight change in the spelling. For example, when writing altogether, you should be careful not to put an extra “l” before the word together.

Hyphenated compound

There are a lot of examples of a hyphenated compound. These compound words have the character trait that they are joined together by a hyphen.

  • empty-handed
  • ill-prepared
  • like-minded

As the final type of compound words, hyphenated compound words offer a wider variety of combinations, as the two words used do not have to change.

One of the most important rules to remember about this type of word is when to put a hyphen. The main rule is that if an adjective comes before the noun in a two-word compound, you should put a hyphen. However, if the adjective comes after the noun, there shouldn’t be a hyphen. Take a look at the example of compound words with hyphens above.

Varied vocabulary

Using a compound word in your day-to-day speech and writing will tremendously improve the variety of your vocabulary. While in the cases of words like full moon you would not even think about the fact that you are using an open compound word, there are cases when compounds are more complex.

The compound words list above will give you an idea of how these words are formed. From open compounds to hyphenated compound words you having an idea of how to use these words will help you improve your language skills and performance.

Not only that but presenting an example of a compound can be very fun. It is true that sometimes language studies can be tedious, compound words are a way to diversify your studies. For example, you can arrange a fun challenge game where all of your peers should think of the most compound words of each type.

Compound words can be an easy and relaxing part of your study process, and they will enrich your vocabulary range and flexibility.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are 10 compound words?

In this section, we will present you with examples of ten compound words you can use in your everyday speech.

  1. railroad
  2. baseball
  3. teamwork
  4. high-tech
  5. living room
  6. cardboard
  7. newborn
  8. well-behaved
  9. worksheet
  10. grandmother

What are 5 examples of compound sentences

In this section, you can see examples of sentences containing different types of compound words.

  1. It is always good to have high-tech tools if you want to work in the IT sector.
  2. A compound word like “teamwork” is very important.
  3. Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the US.
  4. To answer what is a compound word look into an example like a newborn.
  5. My living room is not as spacious as I would have wanted it to be.
Written by Hristina Yordanova
Hristina Yordanova has a Cambridge CPE certification in English and is now pursuing her International Journalism for Media Professionals at the Edinburgh Napier University. She regularly contributes to Cryptopolitan.com and EnglishForward.com from their inception. Her well-written perceptive articles have attracted a steady audience. Profile
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