Compound Words: Open, Closed, or Hyphenated?

Matt Ellis

Compound words are when two or more words combine to form a new single word or a phrase that acts like a single word. There are three different types of compound words in grammar: open compound words with spaces between the words ( ice cream ), closed compound words with no spaces ( firefighter ), and hyphenated compound words ( up-to-date ).

While compound words are a part of everyday communication, figuring out whether to use spaces, hyphens, or neither can get confusing. Below, we discuss the rules for compound words in grammar , including the three different types of compound words, and give examples.

What is a compound word?

Compound words are individual words (or phrases that act as individual words) made from two or more words working together. They can be most parts of speech, including nouns , verbs , adjectives , adverbs , and even prepositions like inside , outside , within , and without .

Compound words have their own distinct meanings that are different from the meanings of the words they’re made of. For example, the compound word grandparent is made from the individual words grand and parent . While grandparents are similar to parents, they’re not the same—and not all grandparents are grand , either!

Instead, the compound word grandparent acts as its own word with its own unique definition, distinct from the definitions of grand and parent . All compound words work like this, even open compound words without spaces. For example, the page in web page is not the same as the page in a book, nor does it involve webs.

Compound words are often confused with blended words, also known as portmanteaus , but the two are very different. In compound words, each individual word remains unchanged. However, in portmanteaus, or blended words, only parts of each word are used. For example, the word internet is a portmanteau; it’s a combination of the words interconnected and network . If it were a compound word, it would be something like interconnected-network , with both words remaining whole and uncut.

The 3 types of compound words

There are three types of compound words in grammar, determined by how the words are separated.

The different categories of compound words pertain only to the words’ spellings—they don’t affect how the words are used or pronounced. Still, it’s important to understand their differences because you need to use the correct spelling when you’re writing . Let’s look at each group on its own and review a special compound words list for each.

1 Open compound words

Open compound words have spaces in between the words, which can make them hard to identify. But despite how they look, open compound words always act like single words. They always appear together, in the same order, and they each have their own unique meanings.

Open compound words are mostly nouns, and they’re used the same as regular nouns. If you want to make an open compound word plural, you usually pluralize only the final word in the group , not all the words.

Mia got sick from eating ten hots dogs .

Mia got sick from eating ten hot dogs .

When open compound words are verbs, they’re more commonly known as phrasal verbs . Phrasal verbs have their own special rules, but in general only one of the words in the group is conjugated while the others remain untouched.

He found outed too late.

He find outed too late.

He found out too late.

However, be careful because sometimes open compound words take a hyphen if they are used as a different part of speech. For example, the compound word test drive is open when used as a noun but hyphenated as test-drive when used as a verb.

Test drives are important. I always test-drive a new car before purchasing. 

Examples of open compound words

2 Closed compound words

Compared to open compound words, closed compound words are much easier to remember and to use. There are no spaces between the words, so closed compound words both look and act like individual words.

You can find closed compound words in almost all parts of speech. Adverbs like sometimes or anyday are closed compound words, as are the prepositions inside , outside , within , and without . Even the word cannot , a shortened form of the phrase “can not,” is a closed compound word.

Examples of closed compound words

3 Hyphenated compound words

Last are hyphenated compound words, which have hyphens between the words. These can be tricky to spell if you’re unsure whether there’s a hyphen or a space, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with a compound word list to help you learn the individual spellings. Otherwise you can quickly look up the correct spelling with a spell checker .

When hyphenated compound words are nouns, it’s important that you pluralize the right part. Unlike with open compound words, you don’t always pluralize the final word in the group. For example, with the hyphenated compound word mother-in-law , you pluralize mother instead of law .

Some spouses don’t like their mother-in-laws , but I get along with mine.

Some spouses don’t like their mothers-in-law , but I get along with mine.

However, each hyphenated compound word is different, and sometimes the s comes at the end. For example, the plural of merry-go-round is merry-go-rounds .

The merry-go-rounds are my favorite part of any amusement park.

As an adjective, a hyphenated compound word acts the same as a hyphen with compound modifiers .

The twenty-year-old students tried a long-distance relationship. 

Examples of hyphenated compound words

Compound word FAQs

What are compound words.

Compound words occur when two or more words combine to form one individual word or a phrase that acts as one individual word. Common examples of compound words include ice cream , firefighter , and up-to-date .

How do compound words work?

In grammar compound words act as individual words. This means that when you’re conjugating compound verbs or pluralizing compound nouns, you only make the grammatical changes once. For example, if you want to talk about more than one living room , you say living rooms , not livings rooms.

What are the different types of compound words?

There are three types of compound words: open compound words, which have spaces between the words ( dining room ); closed compound words, which have no spaces ( babysit ); and hyphenated compound words, which have hyphens ( free-for-all ).

is assignment a compound word

A Comprehensive Guide to Forming Compounds

The compound.


A compound is a word or word group that consists of two or more parts that work together as a unit to express a specific concept. Examples are double-check , cost-effective , around-the-clock , hand-to-hand , forward-thinking , eyeliner , and iced tea . They might also be formed from prefixes or suffixes , as in ex-president , supermicro , presorted , shirtless , or unforgivable .

Basically, compounds are written in one of three ways: solid ( teapot ), hyphenated ( player-manager ), or open (which ranges from phrases such as off and on or little by little to combinations like washing machine —have a field day finding more). Because of the variety in formation, the choice among the styles for a given compound represents one of the most vexing of all style issues writers—and lexicographers—encounter.

For some terms, it is often acceptable to choose freely among open, hyphenated, and solid alternatives, even though the term has been used in English for an extended period (for instance, lifestyle , life–style , or life style ). Although the styling that ultimately takes hold for a compound may be determined by nothing more than editorial and writerly preference, there are patterns of new compounds as they become established in the English language. Compound nouns, for instance, are usually written as one word; compound verbs are generally written as two; compound adjectives are often written with a hyphen. But note that we added "usually," "generally," and "often"—we're hedging. (Be advised that we'll be using noncommittal terms throughout, and, essentially, that's the point of the following articles: there aren't fast rules to forming compounds, but there are patterns.)

The Unit Modifier


Compound adjectives are combinations of words that work together to modify a noun—technically, they work as unit modifiers . As unit modifiers, they are distinguished from other strings of adjectives that may also precede a noun. For instance, in the constructions "a low, level tract of land" or "that long, lonesome highway," the two adjectives each modify the noun separately. We are talking about a tract of land that is both low and level and about a highway that is both long and lonesome. These are regarded as coordinate modifiers .

In the examples "a low monthly fee" and "a wrinkled red shirt," the first adjective modifies the noun plus the second adjective. In other words, we mean that the monthly fee is low and the red shirt is wrinkled. These are noncoordinate modifiers . In the example "low-level radiation," we do not mean radiation that is low and level or level radiation that is low; we mean radiation that is at a low level. Both words are working as a unit to modify the noun—thus, they are unit modifiers .

Unit modifiers are mostly hyphenated. Hyphens not only make it easier for readers to grasp the relationship of the words but also aid in avoiding confusion. For example, the hyphen in "a call for a more-specialized curriculum" removes any ambiguity as to which the word more modifies, and the hyphen in re-sign distinguishes it from resign . Other examples are co-ed and coed , shell-like and shelllike , over-react and overreact , co-worker and coworker , which have either consecutive vowels, doubled consonants, or simply an odd combination of letters and which the inclusion of a hyphen aids in their readability.

The Particle + Noun Compound


Preposition/adverb ( particles ) + noun compounds are styled solid, especially when they are short and the first syllable is accented followed by a syllable with falling stress (as in afterthought , crossbones , download , offhand , upstairs , outfield , onstage , overseas , underhand ). There are also hyphenated particle compounds, like in-house , off-the-cuff , off-line (or offline ), and on-line (or online ).

The styling of Internet ( internet ?)–related compounds ( e-mail / email , website / web site ) remains in flux, with the same compound styled different ways in different publications. We continue to be eagle-eyed lexicographers in our Western Massachusetts-based aerie.

Prefixed, Suffixed, and Combining Form Compounds


Compounds—new, permanent, and temporary—are formed by adding word elements to existing words or by combining word elements. In English, there are three basic word elements: the prefix (such as anti- , non- , pre- , post- , re- , super- ), the suffix (as -er , -ism , -ist , -less , -ful , -ness ), and the combining form ( mini- , macro- , psuedo- , -graphy , -logy ). Prefixes and suffixes are usually attached to existing words; combining forms are usually combined to form new words ( photomicrograph ).

For the most part, compounds formed from a prefix and a word are usually written solid ( superhero ). However, if the prefix ends with a vowel and the word it is attached to begins with a vowel, the compound is usually hyphenated ( de-escalate , co-organizer , pre-engineered ). But there are exceptions: reelection , cooperate , for example. In addition, usage calls for hyphenation between a prefix and a capitalized word or number (post-Colonial, pre-19th century).

A prefixed compound that would be identical with another word, if written solid, is usually hyphenated to prevent misreading ( re-creation , co-op , multi-ply ). Prefixed compounds that might otherwise be solid are often hyphenated in order to clarify their formation, meaning, or pronunciation ( non-news , de-iced , tri-city ). Also, such compounds formed from combining forms like Anglo- , Judeo- , or Sino- are hyphenated when the second element is an independent word and solid when it is a combining form ( Judeo-Christian , Sino-Japanese , Anglophile ).

Some prefixes, and initial combining forms, have related independent adjectives or adverbs that may be used where the prefix might be expected. A temporary compound with quasi(-) or pseudo(-) , therefore, might be written open as modifier + noun or hyphenated as combining form + noun. Thus, the writer must decide which style to follow ( quasi intellectual or quasi-intellectual ; pseudo liberal or pseudo-liberal ).

Compounds formed by adding a suffix to a word are usually written solid ( yellowish , characterless ), except those having a base word that has a suffix beginning with the same letter or is a proper name ( jewel-like , American-ness ). Then, there are unique formations such as president-elect and heir apparent . Additionally, when a word is used as a modifier of a proper name, it is usually attached by a hyphen ("a Los Angeles-based company," "a Pulitzer Prize-winning author").

Permanent and Temporary Compounds


Most two-word permanent and temporary compounds (unit modifiers) are hyphenated when placed before a noun ("one-way street," "a risk-free investment," "East-West trade agreements," "blue-gray/bluish-gray paint") but are often open when following a noun ("The author is well known").

Permanent compounds are those that are so commonly used that they have become—need we say—permanent parts of the language. Temporary compounds are created to meet a writer's need at a particular moment, and they are often formed of an adverb (such as well , more , less , still ) followed by a participle, and hyphenated when placed before a noun ("a still-growing company," "a more-specialized operating system," "a now-vulnerable opponent"). Temporary compounds, often formed from an adverb ending in the suffix -ly followed by a participle, may sometimes be hyphenated but may also be open because adverb + adjective + noun is a normal word order ("an internationally-known artist," "a beautifully illustrated book").

Temporary adjectival compounds may also be formed by using a compound noun. If the compound noun is an open compound , it is usually hyphenated so that the relationship of the words to form an adjective is immediately apparent to the reader ("a tax-law case," "a minor-league pitcher," "problem-solving abilities"). If readily recognizable, the units may occur without a hyphen ("a high school diploma" or "a high-school diploma"; "an income tax refund" or "an income-tax refund"). Also, if the words that make up a compound adjective follow the noun they modify, they fall in normal word order and are, therefore, no longer considered unit modifiers that require hyphenation ("The decisions were made on the spur of the moment"; "They were ill prepared for the journey"; "The comments were made off the record"; "I prefer the paint that is blue gray").

Open or Close the Compound?


When a noun + noun compound is short, and established in the English language and pronounced with equal stress on both nouns, the styling is likely to be open ( bean sprouts , fuel cell , fire drill ). Many short noun + noun compounds, however, that begin as temporary open ones and have the first word accented tend to become solid ( database , football , paycheck , hairbrush ); this is also the case for some adjectives ( shortcut , drywall —but then there's red tape and red-hot ). There are also compounds formed from a verb followed by a noun that is its object, and they tend to be styled as solid ( carryall , pickpocket ). Vice versa, there are noun compounds consisting of a verb form preceded by a noun that is its object ( fish fry , eye-opener , roadblock ), and adjective + noun compounds that are written open ( genetic code , minor league ).

Writers also use a hyphen to make the "unit" relationships of nouns immediately apparent ( English-speakers , Spanish-speaking students , fund-raiser , gene-splicing ), but compounds in which a noun is the object of a following verb-derived word tend to be written open ( problem solver , air conditioning ).

Finally, when the nouns in a noun + noun compound describe a double title or function, the compound is hyphenated ( city-state , secretary-treasurer , hunter-gatherer , bar-restaurant ). And compounds formed from a noun or adjective followed by man , woman , person , or people , as well as denoting an occupation, are regularly solid ( congresswoman , salespeople ). We're pretty sure about those guidelines.

The Verb + Adverb Compound


These compounds may be hyphenated or solid. The compounds with two-letter particles (such as by , to , in , up , on ) are most frequently hyphenated since the hyphen aids in quick comprehension ( lean-to , trade-in , add-on , start-up ). Compounds with three-letter particles ( off , out , through ) are hyphenated or solid with about equal frequency ( spin-off , payoff , time-out , follow-through , giveaway ).

And then there are the verb + -er + particle compounds and verb + -ing + particle compounds. Except for established words like passerby , these compounds are hyphenated ( hanger-on , runner-up , listener-in , falling-out , goings-on , talking-to ). There are also the two-word established forms consisting of a verb followed by an adverb or a preposition, which is styled open: set to , strike out . Then we have words composed of a particle followed by a verb that are usually styled solid ( upgrade , bypass ).

The Compound Noun Turned Verb


The verb form of a compound noun (whether open or hyphenated) most often is spelled with a hyphen ( field-test , water-ski , rubber-stamp ), whereas a verb derived from a solid noun is written solid ( mastermind , brainstorm , sideline ). That one's simple enough. Phew.

To Hyphenate or not to Hyphenate?


That is the question, especially when it comes down to adverb and adjective compounds. And the stickler's answer is to hyphenate when the modifier is before the word it modifies and to write the compound in open form when it follows it (since there is little or no risk of ambiguity). For example, a journalist might publish a word-for-word quotation or a person might be quoted word for word by the journalist, or a writer might be told that what is said is off the record, and any off-the-record information is to remain confidential. However, usage evidence shows that this formula is not closely followed: a team could play back-to-back games or play two games back-to-back; a boss and employee might have a face-to-face discussion or talk face-to-face; a candidate's position might be middle-of-the-road; a child could be accident-prone like his or her accident-prone parent. The point is: many permanent and temporary compounds keep their hyphens after the noun in a sentence if they continue to function as unit modifiers.

But compound adjectives composed of foreign words are not hyphenated when placed before a noun unless they are always hyphenated ("per diem expenses," "the a cappella chorus," but "a ci-devant professor"). Also, chemical names used as modifiers before a noun are not hyphenated ("a citric acid solution"). And a compound noun having three or more words may be either hyphenated or open, depending on preference and usage evidence: editor in chief , base on balls , give-and-take , good-for-nothing , know-it-all , justice of the peace , jack-of-all-trades , pick-me-up , sick-to-itiveness .

The Hyphen as Apostrophe


Hyphens are sometimes used to produce inflected forms of verbs that are made of individually pronounced letters or to add an -er ending to an abbreviation—although apostrophes are more commonly used for the purpose ( x-ed vs. x'd , you decide).

From the time the American League first allowed designated hitters in 1973, another 41 years passed before the first DH was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Frank Thomas will finally get some company this weekend when Edgar Martinez and Harold Baines join him in Cooperstown, New York. Three Hall of Famers in 46 years is a powerful testament to the challenge of DH-ing. — J. P. Hoornstra, The Orange County Register , 17 July 2019 His continued growth as a player will be key to NU's secondary growing into one of the league's best, and Jackson has the right kind of coach, former NFL-er Travis Fisher, to push him toward it. — Sam McKewon, The Omaha (Nebraska) World-Herald , 2 Aug. 2019

The Hyphen in Chemical Compounds


A hyphen separates prefixes composed of single letters, numerals, or letter-numeral combinations from the rest of a chemical term. In addition, italicized prefixes are followed by a hyphen. The hyphen is also used to separate units of certain chemically complex terms:

α-amino-β-( p -hydroxyphenyl)propionic acid 2-methyl-3-ethylpentane 6 H -1,2,5-thiadiazine

In amino acid sequences, hyphens are used to separate the abbreviations ("Ala-Lys-Pro-Thr-Tyr-Phe-Gly-Arg-Glu-Gly").

It should be noted, however, that most chemical names used as modifiers are not hyphenated ("the amino acid sequence," "sodium hypochlorite bleach").

Hyphenated Numbers


Numbers that form the first part of a compound modifier that express measurement are followed by a hyphen ("a 28-mile trip," "a 10-pound weight," "a nine-pound baby"), or that are used in a ratio ("a fifty-fifty chance," "60-40 chance"). An adjective that is composed of a number followed by a noun in the possessive is not hyphenated ("two weeks' notice," "a four blocks' walk"). Also, when the modifier follows a noun, it is usually not hyphenated ("The teacher required an essay that was five pages"; "Children who are twelve years old and under can order from the menu"; "The fence is 12 feet high").

Hyphens are used in fractions (e.g., two-thirds ), and they join the parts of whole numbers ( twenty-one ). The hyphen is also found in serial numbers, and social security or engine numbers. If you're measuring something, you might also use the hyphen ( foot-pound , kilowatt-hour , column-inch , light-year ), or if you are talking about periods of time ("pre-2000" or "post-2000," or "post-20th/twentieth century").

Reduplicative Compounds


Compounds that are formed by reduplication , and so consist of two similar-sounding elements (such as hush-hush , razzle-dazzle , or hugger-mugger ), are usually hyphenated if each of the elements is made up of more than one syllable, but the solid styling for such words is also common ( crisscross , knickknack , singsong ). For very short words (such as no-no , so-so ), words in which both elements may have primary stress ( tip-top ), and for injections ( tsk-tsk ), the hyphenated styling is more common.


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Examples of Compound Words by Type

Grandmother Illustration With Compound Word Example

Compound words are an easy way to add interest to your writing. By combining two ideas in one word, you can quickly provide all the information needed. These examples of compounds will show you how it's done.

What Are Compound Words?

A compound word is formed when two words are combined to make a new word. It is one of the ways in which the English language is flexible and always changing, as compound words allow people to create new words as the need arises.

For example, you might use “in” and “side” to create the compound word “inside”.

We should play inside today.

The words “carry” and “over” can make the compound word “carry over”.

We can carry over that surplus into the next sprint.

As you can see, compound words can come in different varieties. Explore examples of each.

Examples of Compound Words

When it comes to compound words, there are three different types that are important: closed-form, open-form, and hyphenated. Dive into how each type of compound word is different.

Closed-Form Compound Word Examples

Closed compound words are formed when two fully independent, unique words are combined to create a new word. For example, you would combine “grand” and “mother” to create the closed-form word “grandmother”. In a sentence, this would look like, “My grandmother is coming over.” These are the most common types of compound words.

For example:

Open Compound Word Examples

Open compound words are formed when two words remain separate on the page but are used together to create a new idea with a specific meaning. For example, “attorney” and “general” are used to form the open compound word “attorney general”. You could see this in the sentence, “The attorney general holds the power in legal matters.” Other examples of open compounds include:

Hyphenated Compound Word Examples

Hyphenated compound words are formed when two separate words are joined together by a hyphen. Examples of hyphenated compound words include:

Note that hyphenated compound words are most commonly used when the words being joined together are combined to form an adjective before a noun. For example:

However, these hyphenated compound words become open compounds when they are placed after the word they describe. For example:

Compound Words in Sentences

Now that you learned about the different types of compound words, see if you can find the compound words in the sentences below.

If you have those down, try creating a few sentences using compound words that you create!

Compound the Reader's Interest

By adding compound words to your writing, you can make your ideas more interesting and descriptive for the reader. The addition of too many compounds can be messy, especially hyphenated compound words; so, be sure to use compound words wisely. Like any seasoning, they are best sprinkled throughout your writing instead of used in every line.

Now, that you have a grasp of compound words, you might want to dive into some compound sentence examples .

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The Essential Guide to Teaching Compound Words

is assignment a compound word

Compound words are formed when two smaller words combine to form a new word, as in these examples:

mail + box = mail box milk + shake = milk shake note + book = note book

The resources in this article can help you introduce compound words to your children and make them feel like superheroes for being able to read and spell such long words!

What Is a Compound Word?

Compound words can be lots of fun for young readers and spellers. And they are easier to tackle if we think of compound words as two smaller words that are combined to form a new word .

But there’s another important thing to consider when teaching compound words!

When deciding of a word is a compound, remember that the meaning of the compound word relates to the meanings of the two words that combine to form it. For example, a bathtub is a tub you take a bath in. A sandbox is a box you put sand in. An anthill is a hill made by ants , and so on.

Download This Free List of Compound Words

This big list of kid-friendly compound words will be a great resource as you work on this skill together.

Preview of big list of compound words for kids

Teach How to Look for the Two Smaller Words in the Compound Word

The easiest way to introduce compound words is with letter tiles . Choose a word such as bathtub from the resource list and build it with the tiles.

teaching compound words with letter tiles

Explain to your child that the word bathtub has two smaller words in it, and invite him to find those two smaller words. Letter tiles are great for this activity because your child can separate the compound word into two words, like this:

teaching compound words with letter tiles 2

Suddenly, longer words are no longer scary! See why I love letter tiles so much? You can practice this concept with fun words like sandbox , anthill , backpack , and windmill . This is a wonderful method for helping students visualize the words that form compound words.

Games and Activity Sheets for Compound Words

Hands-on games and activities make learning about compound words more fun! Here are three free printables that you can use with your child. The first two activities come from All About Reading Level 1 , and the third activity was designed for all reading levels.

is assignment a compound word

“Bird Friends” Activity

Birds of a feather flock together … and in this fun reading activity, birds of a feather make compound words, too! Just have your child select two matching birds and place them side by side on the branch. Each pair of birds makes a compound word!

is assignment a compound word

“Chop-Chop” Activity

Practice compound words with this fun (and safe!) chopping game! Just cut out the knife and the foods, then let your child “chop” each compound word between its two smaller words. Read each smaller word, and then read the compound word.

activity cover for Banana Splits Game

“Banana Splits” Game

Use compound words to build the yummiest banana split ever in this delicious multi-level reading game. Every player gets an ice cream bowl and a stack of candy covered scoops of ice cream to play with. And the best part? Students of different levels can play together!

Spelling Tips for Compound Words

When your child is spelling, it may not be obvious when to combine two words into one. This process is made more difficult by the fact that there are actually three kinds of compound words. There are closed compounds , which we have been discussing in this article so far. And then there are open compounds and hyphenated compounds .

graphic showing sample compound word types

If your child needs to spell the word ice cream , for example, there is no rule that will help her decide whether this is a closed or open compound word. She’ll just need to determine what “looks right,” and the only way to do that is to have seen it in writing before (preferably multiple times). The Practice Sheets in All About Reading and the Word Banks in All About Spelling are excellent tools to do just that.

Of course, reading word lists isn’t all that exciting. Reading a short story about a sassy cat, on the other hand, is a much more engaging way to practice reading compound words! Here’s the first story with compound words that beginning readers encounter in All About Reading Level 1.

is assignment a compound word

Cobweb the Cat short story

In this story, young readers encounter fourteen different closed compound words, including bathtub , catfish , and sunset . All of these words are pre-taught through various activities, so even before reading the story, the child has already become familiar with them.

The more times your student sees compound words in print, the easier it will be for him to spell them. And that leads us to our final tip for teaching children to spell compound words…

Provide Oral “Hints” During Spelling Dictation

To increase your child’s awareness of compound words during spelling dictation , provide prompts such as “This next sentence has a compound word.” After your child sees closed compound words in print a number of times, he’ll begin to get a sense of when to combine two smaller words into one.

The bottom line when teaching compound words is practice, practice, practice! But make practice a joy by incorporating letter tiles , activity sheets, short reading selections, and spelling dictation “hints.”

What are your favorite ways to practice compound words? Let me know in the comments below!

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Emmanuel Chukwuka Odo

Very good platform for teachers and learner’s.

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Shirley A Scruggs

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Thank you, Shirley!

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Laxman Rathod

Good technique for reading, this technique apply in my school

I hope you find this resource helpful for your school!

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Fun and simple so interesting we highly appreciate

I’m glad you appreciate this. Thank you, Maria!

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I had difficulty on how to teach spelling using compound words that are not affixes and your blog is wonderful/ Thank you so much.

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Aseesa!

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Deb Johansen

Love this blog post and the list. Thanks so much for sharing!

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Mr. Blamo M. Blamo Jr

Thanks for introducing the types of compound words to me. I really do appreciate. Hopping to learn more from you.

You’re welcome.

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Great list! Thank you so much.

You’re welcome, Mohsen!

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Areata Knight-Mitchell.

Thanks Marie . These methods came in very handy.

You’re welcome, Areata. It’s great to hear these are handy.

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i have taught compound words many years but i absolutely love the terminology that you just gave me: open, closed, and hyphenated compounds!!!!!!!!!!!!! thanks and excuse the lowercase typing please?

I’m glad this was helpful for you, Alice!

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Love the list of compound words. This will help my daughter with her test later this week at school!

I’m glad this is helpful for your child, Nese!

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Chidiebere chizobam

So glad.

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Such an excellent resource! Easy to use and makes learning fun. Thanks Elizabeth

Thank you, Elizabeth! I’m glad to hear this was easy to use and fun.

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Elizabeth H.

What a great download!

Thank you, Elizabeth! Glad you like it!

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LaVerne Traynham

I love the list of compound words!!

Thanks, LaVerne!

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This program makes learning fun for kiddos (and I’ve learned some ‘rules’ too)!

Thank you, RKM!

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Melanie Ray

Great info and resources! Thank-you!

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Janine Zamora

My son loves all the fun activities that AAR has. It makes learning fun.

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Great info! Thanks for the resources. Will definitely try it out.

You’re welcome, Elnita.

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This makes it fun and engaging for the students! I love a multisensory approach to compound words: clapping each word and using a motion to represent the combination.

Thank you, Ammy. Multisensory learning is very effective.

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Thank you for the great insights and resources!

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Melanie O'Brien

We are currently using BJU’s reading, phonics, and language arts programs. Do you know if this will replace phonics and language arts (required in my state) or just reading? Thank you.

Great question, Melanie!

All About Reading will cover phonics and reading, as well as vocabulary and comprehension.

The term “Language Arts” is a sort of catch-all term that encompasses everything to do with English, from a preschooler learning the ABCs to high schoolers doing detailed written literary analysis and public speaking. I think you may find our blog post on the scope of Language Arts helpful.

With that in mind, All About Reading, with possibly a handwriting curriculum if needed, will cover “Language Arts” for young learners just beginning to read. Once students are well started in reading (after finishing Level 1 or the equivalent reading level), All About Reading with All About Spelling and possibly handwriting will cover Language Arts.

All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing that is very helpful for beginning writers. It starts with just words and short phrases in Level 1, bumps up to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, and progresses to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through this level, the Writing Station is introduced. In this exercise, students write their own sentences that they make up using some of their spelling words.

At around Level 3 of All About Spelling, students are ready for writing and grammar curriculums. Once a student has mastered reading (after All About Reading Level 4), they are ready to delve into literature and a wide variety of genres.

I hope this helps. If you have questions or want help deciding what your child needs to be working on, let me know your child’s age and abilities in reading and spelling.

Thank you so much! I took a look at the placement test and ordered Level 1. From everything I have seen, I think this will work much better for us. Do you think the spelling should be started with reading level 1? Does it have to be done at the same time? My plan is to see how the reading goes before I order spelling. It also gives me a chance to save for the spelling.

Melanie, We generally recommend waiting to begin All About Spelling until the student has finished All About Reading level 1 or the equivalent reading level. We discuss this on our The Right Time to Start Spelling blog post.

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Adila Nawaz

Coloring coding seems like a really neat idea to identify sounds.

Thank you, Adila!

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Megan Santini

Wow- so many ideas and resources! Thanks!

You’re welcome, Megan!

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Debbie Wright

Awesome website. thanks for the information

You’re welcome, Debbie! I’m glad you like it.

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Jess Tomlin

Love this program

Thank you, Jess!

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I love all the fun activities provided here!

Thanks for letting us know you appreciate the activities, Amber!

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maria gentry

This looks amazing! Thank you!

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My son has struggled with spelling, but your program has helped so much!

I’m so pleased to hear that All About Spelling is helping your son, April!

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Kelly Weber

Great resource!!!

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Hannah Gomez

So helpful!

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Compound Words

When two small words are joined together, the new word is called a compound word. Use the printable worksheets and activities below to help you teach students about this phonics skill.

Compound Words Worksheets

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  1. Compound Words

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  3. Compound Words

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  4. First Grade Compound Words List 1st Grade

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  6. Compound Words worksheets and online exercises

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  1. Rules for compound words

    Compounds can be formed by combining two or more words (as in double–check, cost–effective, farmhouse, graphic equalizers, park bench, around–the–clock, or son of a gun ), by combining prefixes or suffixes with words (as in ex–president, shoeless, presorted, or uninterruptedly ), or by combining two or more word elements (as in macrophage or …

  2. Compound Words: Open, Closed, or Hyphenated ...

    All compound words work like this, even open compound words without spaces. For example, the page in web page is not the same as the page in a book, nor does it involve webs. Compound words are often confused with blended words, also known as portmanteaus, but the two are very different. In compound words, each individual word remains unchanged.

  3. Forming Compound Words

    The Compound. A compound is a word or word group that consists of two or more parts that work together as a unit to express a specific concept. Examples are double-check, cost-effective, around-the-clock, hand-to-hand, forward-thinking, eyeliner, and iced tea. They might also be formed from prefixes or suffixes, as in ex-president, supermicro ...

  4. Examples of Compound Words by Type

    A compound word is formed when two words are combined to make a new word. It is one of the ways in which the English language is flexible and always changing, as compound words allow people to create new words as the need arises. For example, you might use “in” and “side” to create the compound word “inside”. We should play inside today.

  5. The Essential Guide to Teaching Compound Words

    Compound words are formed when two smaller words combine to form a new word, as in these examples: mail + box = mail box milk + shake = milk shake note + book = note book The resources in this article can help you introduce compound words to your children and make them feel like superheroes for being able to read and spell such long words!

  6. Compound Words Worksheets

    When two small words are joined together, the new word is called a compound word. Use the printable worksheets and activities below to help you teach students about this phonics skill. Basic Compound Words 1 FREE Put the two smaller words together to make a new word. example: sun + shine = sunshine 1st through 3rd Grades View PDF Compound Words 2