In one of my posts, I have explained adjectives that these are the words that are used to describe or modify nouns or pronouns. An adjective can specify your writing by giving more information and more meaning to nouns or pronouns.
Compound adjectives are, actually, adjectives that are used to modify nouns. Compound means consisting of two or more separate parts. It means that a compound adjective, as the name implies, consist of two or more than two words. These separate words make up a compound adjective to modify nouns.
The following list has a few examples of compound adjectives.
- Well-known author
- Part-time job
- Under-developed town
- Two-year-old child
- One-letter apart
- Cold-blooded animals
- Well-behaved student
- Close-ended questions
- 4-metre-long rope
- Absent-minded person
Rules to form Compound Adjectives
1. Use Hyphens:
As you can see in the above examples, hyphens are used to link the words to make up a compound adjective. For example,
- At the end of the session, the instructor will ask a few close-ended questions from each one of us.
- Accent and ascent are just one-letter apart.
- I can see an absent-minded person in my classroom.
2. Do not use hyphens:
You do not need to use hyphens when there are proper nouns that are used to form up a compound adjective. For example,
- I so wanted to download 8 Ball Pool game but didn’t get time.
In the above example, 8 Ball Pool is a compound adjective which is made up of a proper noun. This is the reason for not using hyphens to link these words together. This compound adjective ‘8 Ball Pool’ is describing the game.
Note: You do not need to use hyphens when the compound adjective comes after the noun. For example, the student is well behaved.
Trick to use a Hyphen
This trick is very famous to get to know whether to use hyphens between words to form a compound adjective or not.
> You do not need to use hyphens when you can use the word ‘and’ between the words. For example,
1. She is wearing a pretty bright dress. (Correct)
In the above example, the adjectives are ‘pretty bright.’ Now, use the word ‘and’ between these adjectives and see if it is making sense or not.
- She is wearing a pretty and bright dress. (Correct)
You can see that after using the word ‘and’, the sentence is still making sense. It means that there is no need to use a hyphen to join ‘pretty’ and ‘bright.’
> In the same way, you would need a hyphen if the sentence will not make sense after using ‘and’ between the adjectives. For instance,
1. I feel very bad when I think about cold blooded animals.
In the above example, the adjectives are ‘cold blooded.’ Now, use the word ‘and’ between these adjectives and see if it is making sense or not.
- I feel very bad when I think about cold and blooded animals. (Wrong)
No, it is not making sense. We truly need a hyphen to join the adjectives to make it grammatically correct. So, the correct sentence would be,
- I feel very bad when I think about cold-blooded animals. (Correct)
Compound adjectives are adjectives that are used to modify nouns; usually hyphenated; and may consist of more than one word.