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The Flatmates
Language Point 2: Compound words

Compound words are made up of two (or more) separate words. You can combine nouns (a flatmate), adjectives (lovesick) or verbs (jump-start) to make compound words.

Sometimes they become one word:

flatmate (noun)
lovesick (adjective)

Sometimes they become two words:

tourist guide (noun)
travel agent (noun)

Sometimes they become hyphenated:

low-paid (adjective)
film-goer (noun)

Note: There are no hard and fast rules about which category each compound word goes into but a good dictionary will tell you. You can also help yourself by making a note of new compound words you come across and the category they go into.

Generally the stress is on the first word:

phone box (noun)
smoke-free (adjective)
spoon-feed (verb)


A flatmate (n): a person who shares a rented house or flat with other people

Lovesick (adj): a feeling of such strong emotion for someone that it makes you feel almost ill (but not actually physically ill)

A tourist guide (n): someone who shows visitors around places of interest

Low-paid (adj): earning a small amount of money for working

To spoon-feed (v): 1: to feed someone (usually a baby) with a spoon. 2: to give someone so much information or help that a task or job is very easy for them








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