Compound nouns

One way we invent new words is to make new words out of combining existing words. Here are some of the ways we make compound nouns.

  •  Verb plus adverb, or preposition and adverb, or preposition plus verb
    •  When the word order is verb plus adverb, you usually need a hyphen.     look-out, make-up, go-ahead
    • When the word order is adverb plus verb, you can usually write the compound noun as one word.     downpour, bypass, output
  • Verb plus noun, and noun plus verb
    Most verb-plus-noun and noun-plus-verb compound words are usually one word (scarecrow), though a few are hyphenated (sun-dry).
  • Noun plus noun
    Opinion differs on whether to hyphenate noun-plus-noun compound words, but they are usually hyphenated if both parts are of equal status.      owner-occupier, hocus-pocus
  • Adjective plus noun
    Adjective-plus-noun compound words are usually written as two words.     black market

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