What Are Some Examples of Compound Words?

Examples of compound words include grasshopper, baseball, sunflower, fireflies and earthquake. Compound words result from combining at least two words, and they function as varying parts of speech depending on their usage. For instance, “carry over” that functions as a verb is considered an open compound word, but it becomes the closed compound word “carryover” if it functions as a noun or an adjective.

The three types of compound words are closed, open and hyphenated compound words. Joining two distinct words without a space creates a closed compound word. For example, combining “grand” and “mother” creates the word “grandmother.” Other examples include fireworks, moonlight, railroad and crosswalk.

An open compound word has a space between the two combined words. Ice cream, post office, real estate, full moon and attorney general are several examples. In comparison, a hyphenated compound word contains a hyphen between two or more words. Over-the-counter, one-half and merry-go-round are examples of hyphenated compound words.

Modifying compound words placed before nouns are typically hyphenated for clarity. However, compound words that are placed after nouns are open compounds. Examples are “part-time teacher” and “a teacher that works part time.”

Comparative and superlative adjectives become hyphenated words when combined with other modifiers. The highest-priced product and the lower-priced vehicle are some examples. However, adverbs ending in -ly, such as highly rated or publicly held, do not have hyphens.