Compound Nouns: Explore Definition, Examples and Exercises

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Compound Nouns are formed by combining two nouns or the other part of speech as a single word. We often miss out on noticing them and become so ubiquitous that they have become a part of our everyday lives without our knowledge. For instance, words like sunrise, moonlight, toothbrush and many more are a few commonly used compound words in English vocabulary. To help you understand more about this, we have compiled a blog about this noun.

Must Read: Nouns: Definition, Examples

What are Compound Nouns in English Grammar?

Compound nouns are used to identify a class of places, people or a particular name. Thus, it is formed by combining two or more words (could be a noun, verb, preposition etc) to create a new word. 

Examples: Ice Cream (With spaces)

                   Father-In-Law (With Hyphens)

                   Classmate (Without spaces)

Also Read: All About Common Nouns

Types of Compound Nouns with Examples

There are three types of compound nouns, these include:

  • Closed or Solid Compound Noun
  • Spaced or Open Compound Noun
  • Hyphenated Compound Noun

Closed or Solid Compound Noun

A closed or solid compound noun is where the two words do not have any hyphens (-) or spaces separating them. They are considered one-word compound nouns. 

Example: Sunflower. Toothpaste, Haircut, Bedroom, Moonlight, Classroom etc.

Spaced or Open Compound Noun

These nouns are created by merging two words with a space. 

Example: Black eye, Cell phone, Dining Room, Full moon, Cotton candy

Hyphenated Compound Noun

A hyphenated compound noun is created by combining two or more words using a hyphen in between.

Example: E-mail, Mother-in-law, Self-esteem, Check-in, Free-for-all

Must Read: Compound Words: Definition, Examples

How to Form Compound Nouns?

Here’s how you can form a compound noun with the following tenses.

Noun + Noun

  • Lunch + Time =  Lunchtime
  • Boy + Friend = Boyfriend
  • Jail + Break = Jailbreak
  • Sweat + Shirt  Sweatshirt
  • Corn + Dog = Corndog

Noun + Verb

  • Hair + Cut = Haircut
  • Rain + Fall  = Rainfall
  • Role + Play = Roleplay
  • Gun + Fight = Gunfight
  • Foot + Print = Footprint

Noun + Gerund

  • Sight + Seeing = Sightseeing
  • Copy + Editing = Copyediting
  • Cat + Walking = Catwalking
  • River + Rafting = River rafting

Preposition + Verb

  • Sun + Rise =  Sunrise
  • Under + Pass = Underpass
  • Under + Cut  Undercut
  • Up + Roar  = Uproar
  • Out + Let  = Outlet

Adjective + Verb

  • Dry + Cleaning =  Drycleaning
  • High + Light  = Highlight
  • Ever + Lasting  = Everlasting
  • Long + Lasting = Longlasting
  • Long + Awaited = Long awaited

Also Read: Noun, Verb, Adjective, & Adverb

Difference Between Compound and Collective Noun

The Compound Noun is formed by combining two or more words to make a single noun. Whereas, collective nouns refer to multiple people or objects as a single entity. 

S.No. Examples of Compound NounsExamples of Collective Nouns

Compound Noun Exercises

Here is a small exercise which will help you check your knowledge.

Identify the compound noun in the following sentences.

  1. My friend is such a showoff.
  2. Monlights are always a pleasant sight.
  3. That is the silver lining I was talking to you about.
  4. My uncle had a heart attack.
  5. What do you know about British Americans?

Check Your Answers!

  1. Showoff
  2. Moonlights
  3. Silver lining
  4. Heart attack
  5. British Americans

Check Out Other Posts!

Abstract NounsHow to Use Nouns and Prepositions
Learn English Grammar from ScratchAll About Article Rules
Subject-Verb AgreementRules of Articles


What is a compound noun and their examples?

Compound nouns are those that are made up of two or more different words. Some examples include French fries, Cake shops, and School teachers.

Is birthday a compound noun?

Yes, the word ‘birthday’ is a compound noun.

What are compound words in English grammar?

Compounds are two or more words combined to produce a new word with a meaning. Example: Tooth +Brush = Toothbrush, Eco + Friendly = Ecofriendly

To advance your grammar knowledge and read more informative blogs, check out our Learn English page and don’t forget to follow Leverage Edu.

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