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Compound Words ( Word-Formation )


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1. Compound Words are words that are formed by linking two or more words to make one unit, such as
Travel-agent
Dark-haired
Policeman.

2. We can write a compound word :-
(a) as one word : bystander, hairdresses, teacup.
(b) as two or more words : amusement arcade, post office.
(c) with a hyphen ; launching-pad, lay-by, tooth-brush.

3. It is impossible in most cases to give a firm rule on when a hyphen should be used. When a compound has become familiar through constant use, the hyphen can be omitted ; lay-by, toothbrush.
This, however, does not always happen and one can write toothbrush, tooth brush or tooth-brush at different times.

4. If the compounding factors are monosyllabic, it is more likely to be written as one word; as today, football, bygone. In case of doubt it is better to omit hyphen or consult a modern dictionary.

5. Hyphens are necessary :-
(a) When pronunciation or meaning might be unclear without them; as :- co-operate, re-cover (=cover again)
(b) When words form a compound in a particular sentence ; as
a do-it-yourself shop, a go-as-you-please railway ticket.
(c) In adjective phrases dealing with age, size, weight and duration of time ;
a five-year-old child
a six-foot wall.
Note that the compound is not in the plural form : no s

6. Participle compounds used as adjectives are commonly hyphenated, especially when there is a danger of misunderstanding.


Sample Usage

1. A five-year-old child was playing near the bus stand.
2. I just need a table-cloth for a table.


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