Compound Noun – Examples & Rules

Nouns can be classified into various types. While noun as a single concept is very simple, its classifications require a little more attention.

Common nouns, concrete nouns, compounds nouns, etc., are all different types of nouns. Today we will discuss compound nouns. Compound nouns can be a little tricky if some rules are not followed.

Compound nouns are basically the combination of two words. It is an easy concept, but some points need to be kept in mind.

What is a compound noun?

A compound noun is a noun formed by joining two or more words together. It is a combination of words that refers to a person, thing, or place.

In a compound noun, the first word basically describes the second word. It describes the purpose or type of the second word and the second word is usually the identification of the first word. It tries to tell what or who is the first word.

Let us understand with some examples;

  • Lighthouse
  • Firehouse
  • Honeybee

Here, we can see that the first word is the description or modification of the second word and the second word basically tells what is being named.

Different types of a compound noun

Compound nouns are two words joined together. However, they can be formed in usually three different ways.

Let us understand with basic examples;

First is a closed-form compound noun. Here, the compound nouns are joined together normally.

  • I am visiting the lighthouse today.
  • There is a housefly in the car.

Some compound nouns can be a word in a hyphenated form. They are presented with hyphens.

  • My mother-in-law is at home.

And the third form is where the words are presented as two individual words, but they are a single entity.

  • I think he is visiting the post office today.

Formation of compound nouns

There are several ways of forming a compound noun. Any part of speech can act as a term to make a compound noun. Let us discuss them in detail;

A compound noun can be formed by joining two nouns together.

For example;

  • wallpaper
  • birdcage
  • honeymoon
  • lighthouse

A noun and an adjective

For example;

  • Wireless
  • handful
  • headless

An adjective and a noun

For example;

  • pink panther
  • redhead
  • full moon

A preposition and a noun

For example;

  • past lives
  • afterlife
  • underworld

A noun and a preposition or a prepositional phrase

For example;

  • passer-by
  • Father-in-law

A verb and a noun

For example;

  • washing machine
  • swimming pool
  • dressing room
  • waiting room

A noun and a verb

For example;

  • photoshoot
  • sunrise
  • haircut
  • hairstyle

An adjective and an adjective

For example;

  • pinkish-yellow
  • reddish-brown

These are the major ways of forming a compound noun. However, there can be more, such as preposition+verb, Verb+preposition, etc. As mentioned earlier, it can be any part of speech.

So we see compound nouns can be wide. Compound nouns also depend on the context they are being used in.

They are not just any combination of words. One has to be careful while using a compound noun to avoid any errors.

Leave a Comment