Compound Adjectives for intermediate learners

Compound adjectives are used as one single adjective. They function as the head of the sentence. In this lesson, we will learn all about them.

What Are Compound Adjectives?

What Are Compound Adjectives?

Compound adjectives (also called compound modifiers) are adjectives that consist of several individual words.

Why Do We Use Compound Adjectives?

Compound adjectives mainly give us information about a noun or pronoun they are modifying. Therefore, they are commonly used as subject and object complement. Let us take a quick look at the example below:

I was a part-time waitress at that café.

He has a good-natured friend.

Types of Compound Adjectives

Based on their written forms, compound adjectives are categorized into two groups. Let us take a look at the list below:

She has been seasick ever since her arrival in Greece.

As you can see, the words do not need any hyphens.

He felt awfully homesick yesterday.

The Structure of Compound Adjectives

There are different structures for compound adjectives. Here, we are going to learn some of the most commonly-used structures for forming compound adjectives. Let us take a look at the list below:

Noun + Adjective

One of the common structures for compound adjectives is to add a noun to an adjective. Take a look at the following statements:

Johnny Depp is a world-famous actor.

They want to live in a cruelty-free world.

Adverb + Past Participle

Another structure used in forming compound adjectives is to add particular adverbs to past participles. Let us study the following examples:

China is overpopulated.

Why is this Kebab undercooked, sir?


Remember that not all adverbs can be used to create compound adjectives. To make sure, check whether the combination can be a subject complement or be modified by an adverb. If not, you are not using a compound adjective. Look at the following example:

It was a remarkably interesting event.

As you can see, this is not a compound adjective

Noun + Past Participle

Another way to form compound adjectives is to add a noun to the past participle. In this case, the combination is always hyphenated. Study the following examples carefully:

Look at the mouth-watering view of the jungle!

The Irish-speaking lady hated me.


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Participle Adjectives

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