A compound word is made of two or morewords that together express a single idea. a. An open compound means that the words ofthe compound are written separately, (NewYear’s Eve, credit card, sea salt). b. A hyphenated compound separates thewords by hyphen(s) (brother-in-law, high-maintenance, force-feed).
c. A solid compound is formed when the two words arewritten as one word (typewriter, breakfront, oatmeal). Solid compounds generally begin as two separatewords, then start to be used as hyphenated words, andfinally become solid compounds (one word). Compound words may be permanent or temporary. Apermanent compound has been used so often and sowidely that it is now in common usage and can befound in the dictionary. A temporary compound is onethat joins words by hyphen(s) as needed, we can createour own temporary compounds. They say what WEwant to convey to the reader.
Hyphens A hyphen (-) is a punctuation mark used to jointhe separate parts of a compound word.Examples:well-oiled (as in "well-oiled machine")6-foot (as in "6-foot shark")cooking-oilex-President
Why do we even bother with a hyphen? Toavoid confusion. When we join an adjective toa noun to create a compound adjective, withouta hyphen the reader isn’t sure what isdescribing (modifying) what. A tall tree stumpindicates that the stump is from a tall tree, butif you are writing about the tall stump of atree, a tall-tree stump tells people that thestump was tall. The hyphen makes that clear.
A compound adjective is a single adjectivecomprisingmore than one word. The words in acompound adjective are usually groupedtogether using hyphens. Examples:* a never-ending story* an all-bearing circuit device* a spine-chilling experience* a brain-hammering advertisement
- This is a well-run business.- Our professor is a well-read man.* a many-sided polygon* a single-handed sailor* an absent-minded person* a tight-fisted father- Nancy owns a three-bedroom apartment.- Robert drives a four-door car.- Kylies a long-haired woman.- Robert married a fair-skinned lady.
One way to decide if a hyphen is necessary is tosee if the phrase might be ambiguous without it.For example, "large-print paper" might be unclearwritten as "large print paper" because the readermight combine "print" and "paper" as a singleidea rather than combining "large" and "print."Another such example is "English-languagelearners." Without the hyphen, a reader mightthink we are talking about English people whoare learning any language rather than people whoare learners of the English language.
1. Compound Adjectives need to be formed when you usetwo or more adjectives that need to be used together tomodify the noun. These compounds should be hyphenated,or you can get a sentence that doesn’t say what you meant itto say. Incorrect: The short legged dog ran for the door. (You aresaying that the dog is short and had legs!) Correct: The short-legged dog ran for the door. (Now youare saying that the dog’s legs are short.) Incorrect: Her red orange car was easy to see from adistance. (Was the car red or orange?) Correct: Her red-orange car was easy to see from a distance. (Now you are saying that the car was a color that was acombination or red mixed with orange.)
Some compound adjectives formed with1)an adverb or a noun plus a past participlea great-looking car. 2) a noun, adjective, or adverb with a presentparticiple are always hyphenated when theycome before the noun: a well-liked President, the well-written essay. red-cheeked child, ice-covered streets, a great-lookingcar.
IF the compounds come after the noun, theyare not hyphenated. The President was wellliked. Her essay was well written. The child wasred cheeked. All the streets are ice covered. Thatcar is great looking! Sometimes thesecompounds become permanent, and arehyphenated even after the noun, sometimesthey become permanent solid compounds(merge into one word). That’s why it’simportant to use your dictionary if you haveany doubt at all.
Some compound adjectives use an adjectiveand a noun to which -d or -ed has been added:blue-eyed man, curly-haired woman, multi-grainedbread. Some of these compounds become permanenthyphenated or solid compounds after years ofuse.
we must use hyphenation to join a word to apast participle to create a single adjectivepreceding the noun it modifies: "a well-intentioned plan," for example, or "a horseshoe-shaped bar." Be aware, however, that we do nothyphenate these same phrases when theyFOLLOW the nouns they modify: --This is a government-mandated program.--The program is government mandated. --She is a well-respected student.--She is well respected as a teacher.
Another basic rule is that we never hyphenatecompounds that are created with "-ly" adverbs, evenwhen they PRECEDE the nouns they modify: "a fullydeveloped plan," for example, or "a nationally certifiedteacher." Here are more examples: --We sent in heavily fortified troops.--The troops were heavily fortified. --All newly employed nurses must be evaluatedregularly.--All the nurses on the eighth floor are newlyemployed. --A beautifully designed room can be both relaxing andinvigorating.--The living room is beautifully designed.
TEST YOURSELF Can you spot any errors in the use of compoundsin the following sentences? 1. The war in Iraq has been a closely-monitoredmedia event.2. The Department of Transportation maintainsrights-of-way alongside all roadways.3. Follow up activities have been scheduled forJune and July.4. We must follow up on these changes.5. Long term planning must be an essential goal ofthis company.6. The committee centers all of itsrecommendations in performance basedstandards.
ANSWERS 1. The war in Iraq has been a closely monitored media event.[No hyphen with an "-ly" adverb, even though here it helpsform a compound adjective preceding a noun.] 2. correct [Websters hyphenates "right-of-way" and theplural form "rights-of-way" in all circumstances--even whenthe phrase is functioning as a noun, as in this sentence.] 3. Follow-up activities have been scheduled for June andJuly. 4. correct 5. Long-term planning must be an essential goal of thiscompany. 6. The committee centers all of its recommendations inperformance-based standards.