COMPOUND WORDS | ENGLISH GRAMMAR

COMPOUND WORDS: A compound word is where two or more root words are merged into a new and different word. There are three different kinds of compound: open, closed, and hyphenated compound words. Read this handy guide to learn more about compound words and how they can be used in different sentences.

What are Compound Words?


Compound Words are two or more words that have been grouped together to create a new word that has a different, individual meaning. There are three different kinds of compound words: closed compound words, open compound words and hyphenated compound words.

In English, there are many compound words, including a few that you might not have realized were compound words. This includes words like ‘football’, which is made up of two different words: ‘foot’ and ‘ball’. When put together, they become the name of a sport.

COMPOUND WORDS

What Are Compound Words?

A compound word is formed when two words are combined to make a new word. It is one of the ways in which the English language is flexible and always changing, as compound words allow people to create new words as the need arises.

COMPOUND WORDS ENGLISH GRAMMAR
COMPOUND WORDS ENGLISH GRAMMAR

For example, you might use “in” and “side” to create the compound word “inside”.

Common Compound Word Examples

In this table, you’ll find a few examples of different compound words that you might have come across in everyday use:

Compound wordIndividual words
FootballFoot + ball
FirefighterFire + fighter
NotebookNote + book
SuperheroSuper + hero
RailroadRail + road
SnowballSnow + ball
InsideIn + side
SometimesSome + times

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We should play inside today.

The words “carry” and “over” can make the compound word “carry over”.

Common Compound Word Examples
Common Compound Word Examples

We can carry over that surplus into the next sprint.

As you can see, compound words can come in different varieties. By adding compound words to your writing, you can make your ideas more interesting and descriptive for the reader. The addition of too many compounds can be messy, especially hyphenated compound words; so, be sure to use compound words wisely. Like any seasoning, they are best sprinkled throughout your writing instead of used in every line.

When it comes to compound words, there are three different types that are important: closed-form, open-form, and hyphenated. Dive into how each type of compound word is different.

Different Forms of Compound Word

Now that we know what a compound word is, it’s time to take a look at the different types of compound word. As we mentioned before, these are closed compound words, open compound words and hyphenated compound words.

But before we go on, it’s important to bear in mind that a compound word doesn’t have to be made up of just two words. It’s also possible to use more than two words to form a compound.

So, let’s explore the three types in more detail.

200+ Examples Of Compound Words For Kids:

PaycheckTablespoonFirework
NewspaperSuperstarMovie Theater
CatfishDress ShoesSailboat
BodyguardLighthouseWaistcoat
RunwayStarfishCaveman
LifetimeMoon RocksToothbrush
UpliftNeedle WorkRailroad
StrawberryHopscotchNobody
CrosswalkSunburnGoldfish
GroundhogOuter SpaceFisherman
HandshakeTimekeeperDesktop
KeyboardUptownRollout
SpearmintCandlestickDropdown
RainbowWaterproofVideo Game
AngelfishDustbinTupperware
BirdhouseDoorbellKickball
KeyholeEyeballFirefighter
CupcakeDragonflyPonytail
GingerbreadSkateboardMoonwalk
ItselfUndergroundSpaceship
AirplaneNeedlepointSchoolwork
BlueberryOver-The-CounterWork Boots
UpperclassmanPeppermintSuperman
FishhookSnowballTadpole
TugboatDaydreamPopcorn
HerselfGrasshopperHardship
BillboardHorsemanDownhill
DoghouseThrowbackRaincoat
ArmpitMother-In-LawSnowflake
WallflowerLaptopBookstore
UnderestimateHigh HeelsMidnight
GoodnightCar WashArmchair
DownstairsTailgateBaseball
TimeshareBeachballNightlight
MindsetTaxpayerTeacup
DatabaseFingernailExtracurricular
AirportDownpourHometown
NewbornWorksheetFather-In-Law
StingrayStarlightWaterboy
NeighbourhoodSolar SystemNecktie
NecklineBow TieRaindrop
HandoutSnowhiteBathtub
UnderwaterBlackholeRockband
TakedownFireflyDrugstore
BackpackBrainstormKeypoint
TeaspoonFrench FriesHamburger
FirecrackerNeedleworkMailman
ShoelaceHorseplayRacquetball
MilkshakeFootballHandbag
FarewellEarlobeEarthworm
GrandchildBusboyTailbone
OverestimateShowoffTextbook
KickboxingTeammateSoftball
Chocolate ChipBoardwalkNewsletter
NetworkWatermelonAntfarm
DeadendHairbandRawhide
CabdriverMoonlightBallpark
HoneydewRocketshipPostcard
PathwaySunroofBike Rack
RedheadSubwayHeadband
RattlesnakeSuperchargeHotdog
EarthquakeCartwheelNotebook
RowboatHandcuffCrossbow
TakeoutSunglassesFishbowl
RedwoodHomemadeWithout
SunflowerJellybeanDrawbridge
PeanutButterflySoundproof
WheelchairTennis ShoesNamesake
FootstepPolicemanChalkboard
WorldwideMailboxSchoolbooks
ForearmUnderstandDaytime
NosebleedIce CreamGrandparents
StaircaseThunderstormSomewhere
ScarecrowEyebrowPassport

Closed Compound Words

Closed compound words are the most recognizable of the three different types. These words are created when other smaller words come together to form one new larger word.

For example:

  • Waistcoat
  • Railroad
  • Mailbox
  • Sunflower
  • Breakfast

Can you spot the individual words that make up each new word? If you can, it’s likely you’ve come across a compound word!

Let’s look at the compound word ‘breakfast’. The two words that make up this compound arebreak’ and ‘fast’. The word ‘fast’ in this case does not mean moving quickly (though being able to quickly to prepare a meal first thing in the morning certainly has its benefits). Instead, ‘fast’ means a period of not eating. And as many will have spent the night sleeping, ‘breakfast’ is to break the fast.

The new closed compound words are therefore recognized as separate lexical items, with each having individual meaning.

Children can be introduced to closed compounds words at an early age. And there are plenty of activities for kindergarten and first-grade children to try their hand at putting together compound words.

Closed-Form Compound words

Closed compound words are formed when two fully independent, unique words are combined to create a new word. For example, you would combine “grand” and “mother” to create the closed-form word “grandmother”. In a sentence, this would look like, “My grandmother is coming over.” These are the most common types of compound words.

Compound words list

By now, you’ll probably have a pretty good understanding of the three different types of compound word. You’ll also be familiar with a few different examples of compounds, like ‘football’ and ‘toothbrush’. But perhaps you’d like to see a few more examples for each different compound type.

In this section, we’ve put together a handy compound words list that contains 12 different examples of closed, open and hyphenated compound words. As you have a read through this compound words list, you might spot a lot of words that are already familiar to you. You may even find some words that you didn’t realize were compounds.

Closed compound wordsOpen compound wordsHyphenated compound words
FootballLiving roomBrother-in-law
AircraftFirst aidLong-term
GrandparentFull moonFar-fetched
FootpathReal estateSo-called
CardboardCoffee tableLast-minute
PlaceholderHot dogEar-splitting
AirportPost officeHigh-tech
BlueberryCotton candyMind-blowing
FireflyFrying panGreat-grandfather
WatermelonHigh schoolWarm-up
BedroomRoller coasterHigh-rise
BattleshipWashing machineHalf-baked

It might be a good idea to teach your learners some of the words in this compound words list. Having a few examples could help them to understand how the three types of compounds differ from one another.

For example:

  • 1.railroad
  • 2.sometimes
  • 3.inside
  • 4.upstream
  • 5.basketball
  • 6.anybody
  • 7.outside
  • 8.cannot
  • 9.sunflower
  • 10.moonlight
  • 11.bullfrog
  • 12.snowball
  • 13.mailbox
  • 14.skateboard
  • 15.everything
  • 16.schoolhouse
  • 17.grasshopper

Open Compound Word 

Open compound words are formed when two words remain separate on the page but are used together to create a new idea with a specific meaning. For example, “attorney” and “general” are used to form the open compound word “attorney general”. You could see this in the sentence, “The attorney general holds the power in legal matters.”

More examples

  • 1.living room
  • 2.sweet tooth
  • 3.hot dog
  • 4.grand jury
  • 5.post office
  • 6.full moon
  • 7.half sister
  • 8.cave in
  • 9.peanut butter
  • 10.Boy Scouts
  • 11.no one
  • 12.ice cream
  • 13.real estate
  • 14.high school

Hyphenated Compound words

Hyphenated compound words are formed when two separate words are joined together by a hyphen. 

Examples 

  • 1.two-fold
  • 2.check-in
  • 3.merry-go-round
  • 4.father-in-law
  • 5.seventy-two
  • 6.long-term
  • 7.up-to-date
  • 8.mother-in-law
  • 9.one-half
  • 10.over-the-counter
  • Note that hyphenated compound words are most commonly used when the words being joined together are combined to form an adjective before a noun. 

For example:

  • 1.forty-acre farm
  • 2.full-time worker
  • 3.on-campus housing
  • 4.state-of-the-art features
  • 5.family-run busines
  • However, these hyphenated compound words become open compounds when they are placed after the word they describe. 

For example:

  • 1.The farm has forty acres.
  • 2.The worker is full time.
  • 3.The housing is all on campus for freshman
  • 4.Its features are truly state of the art.
  • 5.The business is still family run.

Compound Words in Sentences

Now that you learned about the different types of compound words, see if you can find the compound words in the sentences below.

  • 1.My grandfather is coming home for the holidays.
  • 2.I really want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
  • 3.The real estate agent had to take a test to get her license.
  • 4.She is a part-time teacher.
  • 5.That is our full-time worker.
  • 6.He was seventy-two years old.
  • 7.Let’s go play some basketball
  • 8.Has anybody seen my binder?

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