Free Resources for Students and Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China - by Paul Sparks

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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Semester 2 Reading Lessons...



Reading: Compound Words

Lesson Objectives: To understand how compound words are used when reading.

Source: and

Compound Words - Definition: In English, words, particularly adjectives and nouns, are combined into compound structures in a variety of ways. And once they are formed, they sometimes metamorphose over time. A common pattern is that two words will be joined by a hyphen for a time and then be joined into one word.

There are three forms of compound words:

1. The closed form, in which the words are melded together, such as firefly, secondhand, softball, childlike, crosstown, redhead, keyboard, makeup, notebook;

2. The hyphenated form, such as daughter-in-law, master-at-arms, over-the-counter, six-pack, six-year-old, mass-produced;

3. The open form, such as post office, real estate, middle class, full moon, half sister, attorney general.

Compound Words Quiz: If the compound structure is correct, write a tick in the box, if it is wrong, write an cross.

Two and a half years ago, my fifty-two year-old brother-in-law , a highly-respected (and, might I add, well paid ) vice president of a bank, moved to the forty-third floor of a high-rise apartment building in New York City. The building was brand-new and still about three-quarters empty. For us, this was unheard of luxury, and I remember standing in my in-laws' living-room , looking out at all those sky-scrapers and down on Central Park under a full-moon in a coal-black sky, and thinking, "This is it! This is the best the twentieth-century has to offer!"

But my sister's-in-law reaction was not a happy one. We should've known all-along that our little understood and long-suffering relative would not be overly happy in that over-populated environment. In fact, her resistance to living there was greater than expected . In a matter-of-fact moment, and in her usual self-confident and thought provoking way, she said, "When I'm fifty five years of age , I'll be out of here."

And she was nearly-right , too, for a year-and-a-half later, they'd left behind the rat-race pace and helter skelter lifestyle of Manhattan's upper-west-side and moved back to their much-loved and happily familiar suburban hide-away in upstate-New-York , northeast of Albany.

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