Compound Nouns Plurals

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Compound Nouns Plurals can be a bit confusing at times so today let’s take a look at some ways to make a plural out of a compound noun.

A compound noun is a noun that consists of two words or more that are put together. A compound noun can be written as a single word, two words or a word with a hyphen (-)

The ones that are written as a single word are usually made compound nouns plurals by adding the letter s:

Bedroom – Bedrooms
Haircut – Haircuts
Output – Outputs

If you have compound nouns written as two words, you need to add -s or -es to the last word:

Prime minister – Prime ministers
Swimming pool – Swimming pools

An exception to the rule is Man of war – Men of war
That’s because Man is an irregular plural noun and is the principal word (Men are much more important than their wars) 🙂

When you’ve got compound nouns separated with hyphens, there are two ways to handle them:

1) Add -s to the important word:

Commander-in-chief – Commanders-in-chief
Court-martial – Courts-martial
Step-daughter – Step-daughters
Passer-by – Passers-by

2) Make both words plural

There are 4 compound nouns where both words become plural, these are:

Man-servant – Men-servants
Woman-servant – Women-servants
Lord-justice – Lords-justices
Knight-templar – Knights-templars

Most of these hyphenated compound nouns aren’t often used and I use them when I talk about history (Slavery and wars) or law, but let’s take a look at them with the help of these two exercises.

That sums up a few of these cases but we can’t make each and every compound noun plural. Many of them, like toothpaste, are uncountable and you have to make note of that sometimes.
I hope you found this information useful and I’ll see you next week! 🙂

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