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Compound nouns are formed by more than one word, although they work as a single word within the sentence. We use compound nouns when a single noun is not clear enough to name a person or object. There are several types of compound nouns in English: Noun + preposition + noun


washing up liquid (lĂ­quido lavavajillas) Noun + preposition or preposition + noun
drying-up (deshidratamiento) Verb + adverb or preposition
make-up (maquillaje) Noun + adjective or adjective + noun
junk food (comida basura)

Some compound nouns are uncountable and this happens when they name an object that cannot be counted.


We have installed air-conditioning at home. (Hemos instalado el aire acondicionado en casa)

In this example we are using the compound noun "air-conditioning" in its singular form because we cannot count it. We can only count the "air-conditioning units".

There are several ways of writing the compound nouns:

Compound Style

noun + adjective
noun + noun
noun + preposition
noun + verb
adjective + adjective
adjective + noun
adjective + preposition
adjective + verb
preposition + adjective
preposition + noun
preposition + preposition
preposition + verb
verb + adjective
verb + noun
verb + preposition
verb + verb