English Lesson 16 Compound nouns

Compound nouns
we often use two nouns together to mean one thing /person/idea, etc.
When we want to give more specific information about someone or something, we sometimes
use a noun in front of another noun. For example, we can use a noun + noun combination to
say what something is made of, where something is, when something happens, or what someone
chicken soup= soup with chiken in it
metal box= a box made of metal
chocolate cake= cakes with chocolate in them
Leather jacket= a jacket made of leather
Tomato salad= a salad with tomatoes in it
Te first noun is like and adjective. It tells us what kind of thing, idea, or person , etc. When we want to
For example :
A road accident is an accident that happens on the road
The sea temperature say us the temperature of the sea
Often the first word ends in -ing, usually these are things used for doing something . For example :
A washing machine, a frying pan, a swiming pool
Sometimes there are more than two nouns together:
I waited at the hotel reception desk
If you want to play table tennis, you need a table tennis table
When nouns are together like this, sometimes we write them as one word and sometimes as two separate words, for example :
A headache, toothpaste, a weekend, a stomach ache
There are no clear rules for this. If you are not sure, is better to writte two words. Or you can often put a hyphen – between the two words, but this is not necesary
A dinning-room
Depens on the direction of the word, the meaning can be different, for example :
a wine glass(perhaps empty)
a glass of wine ( a glass with wine in it )
Even if the first noun has a plural meaning, it usually has a singular form:
• an address book (= a book for addresses; not an addresses book)
a car park (= a place for parking cars; not a cars park)
However, there are a number of exceptions. These include:
• nouns that are only used in the plural, or have a different meaning in singular/plural or
• a clothes shop
a customs officer the arms trade
when we refer to an institution of some kind (an industry, department, etc.) which deals with
more than one item or activity (building materials, publications).
• the appointment board (= the board which deals with a particular appointment)
the appointments board (= the board which deals with all appointments)
To make a compound noun plural we usually make the second noun plural:
coalmine(s) office-worker(s) tea leaf / tea leaves
However, in compound nouns that consists of two nouns joined by of or in, we make a plural
form by making the first noun plural
Notice that we say:
• a ten-minute speech
but we can say:
a 60-piece orchestra
a five-year-old child
a five-time (or five-times) winner
Some compound nouns consist of -ing + noun. (This -ing form is sometimes called a ‘gerund’,
‘verbal noun’, or ‘-ing noun’.)
The -ing form usually says what ******** the following noun has:
a living room drinking water
a dressing gown
a working party
Other compound nouns consist of a noun + -ing:
Sometimes a noun + noun is not appropriate and instead we use noun + ‘s + noun (possessive
form) ) or noun + preposition + noun. In general, we prefer noun + ‘s + noun:
• when the first noun is the user (a person or animal) or users of the item in the second noun:
a baby’s bedroom
a lion’s den
• when the item in the second noun is produced by the thing (often an animal) in the first:
cow’s milk
• when we talk about parts of people or animals; but we usually use noun + noun to talk about
parts of things.
a woman’s face
giraffe’s neck
a computer keyboard
We prefer noun + preposition + noun:
• when we talk about some kind of container together with its contents.
a cup of tea (= a cup with tea in it) and • a tea cup (= a cup for drinking tea from)
a box of matches (= a box with matches in) and • a matchbox (= a box made to put
matches in)
• when the combination of nouns does not necessarily refer to a well-known class of items.
• a grammar book (a well-known class of books) but• a book about cats (rather than ‘a cat book’)
We often use noun+noun structures when the second noun is made from a verb+er
bus driver= a person who drives a bus
truck driver= a person who drives a truck
hair dryer= a machine for drying hair
coffee drinker= a person who drinks coffee
tennis player= a person who plays tennis
mountain climber= the person who climbs mountains
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