Compound nouns are common in the English language. They are made up of two words- which can be a verb, adjective or noun, to create a new word to describe something. The new word created is a compound noun. Compound nouns sometimes are separated by a hyphen (-), but often the word joins to make one word or there is still a space between the two words.

Compound nouns are formed from the following combinations:

·         noun + noun

·         noun + verb

·         noun + adverb

·         adjective + noun

·         adjective + verb

·         adverb + noun

·         adverb +verb

Generally, the word can be identified by the two words that make it up. However, as English comprises of many exceptions to every rule, this is not always the case. And it is important to note that sometimes three words can be used to form a compound noun.

A compound word can be identified by the fact that the words that have been joined together to create a new word can be separated and stand alone. If the words are separated, and the words don’t make sense on their own, then it is not a compound noun.

Noun +noun combination

Water + tank= Water tank (noun) a container holding water.

Noun + verb combination

Hair + cut= Haircut (noun) is the style in which a person’s hair is cut.

Noun + adverb combination

Passer + by= Passer-by (noun) is a person who walks past.

Adjective + noun combination

Green + house= Greenhouse (noun) a room for plants to grow.

Adjective + verb combination

Public + speaking= Public speaking (noun) refers to speaking in a public space- usually when giving a speech.

Adverb + noun combination

On + looker= Onlooker (noun) is a person who watches or witnesses something.

Adverb + verb combination

In + put= Input (noun) describes a contribution to something or putting something into a system