Is Compound Noun Singular(7 Important Facts)


In this article we shall address the question ‘Is compound noun singular?’ with the help of various compound noun examples, explanations and interesting facts.

Compound noun is a noun that is made up of at least two words. At the point when the at least two words combined names an individual, creature, place, or a thing, then, at that point, the word is called as a compound noun. A singular noun is nothing but a noun that names a person, animal, place or a thing that has a grammatical number of one.

The following are sentences that have compound nouns in them. Try finding out the grammatical number (singular or plural) of those compound nouns as well.

  • 1. Your hair is very unkempt and you need a haircut.
  • 2. All of you are requested to throw the waste in the dustbin.
  • 3. The sunrise at Kanyakumari is definitely a beautiful sight to see.
  • 4. Ruhi’s daughter-in-law is well renowned author.
  • 5. Make sure you have your driving license whenever you are driving.

The words which are italicized above are compound nouns as they are formed by combining two or more than words together. You should also have noted that all the above italicized compound words are singular in number.

Can compound nouns be singular?

Yes, compound nouns can certainly be singular.

Example: You can sleep in this bedroom.

In the above sentence, ‘bedroom’ (noun + noun) is the compound noun utilized as it is formed by joining two words ‘bed’ and ‘room’. The compound noun ‘bedroom’ is singular as it is naming only one room (one place).

Thus, compound nouns can surely be singular in number.

When compound nouns are singular?

Compound nouns are singular when the two or more words joined together in order to form the compound noun name a single person, animal, place or a thing.

Example: My grandfather used to tell me many stories when I was a child.

‘Grandfather’ (adjective + noun) is the compound utilized here and it is a combination of the words ‘grand’ and ‘father’. Since the compound noun ‘grandfather’ names or denotes only one person, it is singular in number.

Thus, all the compound nouns when they refer to only one person, animal, place or an object then they are singular.

Which compound nouns are singular?

In general, all compound nouns can be singular. Singular compound nouns are the ones that denote that there is only person or thing attributed to the compound noun in the context.

Example: There is a blackboard in the classroom.

‘Blackboard’ (adjective + noun) and ‘classroom’ (noun + noun) are the compound nouns in the sentence. Both of these compound nouns are singular as ‘blackboard’ refers to one blackboard (one thing) and ‘classroom’ refers to only one classroom (one place).

Example: You can meet the postman in the post office tomorrow.

‘Postman’ (verb + noun) and ‘post office’ (verb + noun) are the compound nouns utilized in the sentence. Both of these compound nouns are singular as ‘postman’ refers to one postman (one person) and ‘post office’ refers to only one post office (one place) and not more than one.

Thus in the same way, all the other compound nouns have a singular form.

Why are compound nouns singular?

Compound nouns are singular in number because only then can these compound nouns can be used to name singular person, places, objects or animals. If compound nouns do not have a singular form, then we can never use them to name a singular or a particular individual or a thing.

Example: I have a grandson and he is an astronaut in NASA.

The singular compound noun utilized in this sentence is ‘grandson’ (adjective + noun) as it used to name only one grandson (one person). If, there is no singular form of this compound noun, then we cannot use it here as the subject ‘I’ of this sentence has only one grandson, which means we have to use only singular number here.

Thus, compound nouns are singular so that we can use them to name singular person or object.

Which compound nouns are always singular?

Almost all the compound nouns have both singular forms and plural forms, but however, there are very few compound nouns which have only singular form. Compound nouns that end with a gerund (when the last word of the compound noun is a gerund) do not take plural form and hence such compound nouns always singular. Let us see a few of such compound nouns ending with gerunds.

Example: Bird watching is my daughter Riya’s favorite hobby.

The singular compound noun utilized in the above sentence is ‘bird watching’ (noun + gerund) and it is always singular. That is, it does not have a plural form and can be used only in singular form always as there is no word like ‘bird watchings’.

Example: Hand embroidery is very time-consuming when compared to machine embroidery.

‘Time-consuming’ (noun + gerund) is the singular compound noun in the sentence and it will always be singular as it does not have a plural form because there is no words like ‘times-consuming’ or ‘time-consumings’.

Seeing the above two examples, we can come to a conclusion that compound nouns ending with gerunds are always singular as gerunds do not take plural form and hence they always remain singular.

But however, this does not apply when the gerund in the compound noun is in the beginning, (when the first word of the compound noun is a gerund) then those compound nouns can take both the singular and plural form. For example, in ‘frying-pan’ (gerund + noun), the gerund is the first word of the compound noun, and so it can have a plural form as ‘frying-pans’.

Singular compound noun examples

The following are a few singular compound noun examples. Do go through them to get a better understanding.

  • 1. Our college has a huge basketball court where various tournaments are held.
  • 2. All the passengers are asked to wait for a while in waiting room.
  • 3. My mother-in-law is 85 years old, still she chooses to help me in the kitchen.
  • 4. I wish to buy the latest smartphone with my next month salary.
  • 5. Smitha spends most of her time in the living room and in the drawing room.

Singular compound noun examples with explanations

We will now identity, examine and analyze the singular compound nouns that are present in each and every sentence.

1. Our college has a huge basketball court where various tournaments are held.

‘Basketball’ (noun + noun) is the singular compound noun which is used in this sentence, as it names or refers to just one basketball (a thing) and not more than one thus representing the singularity.

2. All the passengers are asked to wait for a while in waiting room.

‘Waiting room’ (gerund + noun) is the singular compound noun which is used in the above sentence, as it names or denotes to just one single room (a single place) and not more than one thus indicating the singularity.

3. My mother-in-law is 85 years old, still she chooses to help me in the kitchen.

The singular compound noun which is used in the above sentence is ‘mother-in-law’ (noun + preposition + noun) as it names or denotes to just one single mother-in-law (a person) and not more than one thus indicating the singularity.

4. I wish to buy the latest smartphone with my next month salary.

The singular compound noun which is used in the above sentence is ‘smartphone’ (adjective + noun) as it names or denotes to just only one smart mobile phone (an electronic device- a thing) and not more than one thereby indicating the grammatical number as singular.

5. Smitha spends most of her time in the living room and in the drawing room.

‘Living room’ (gerund + noun) and ‘drawing room’ (gerund + noun) are the singular compound nouns which are used in the above sentence. The compound noun ‘living room’ names just one room (a single place) and the same way the compound noun ‘drawing room too denotes only one room and not more than one thus indicating the singularity of the compound nouns.

Which compound nouns can be either singular or plural?

All the compound nouns have a singular and plural form except for compound nouns that end with gerunds which take only singular form and not plural form, as gerunds do not take a plural form.

Example: We are planning to build a swimming pool in our new house.

‘Swimming pool’ (verb + noun) is the singular compound noun here in this example, as it is used to refer to only one swimming pool (one place) and not more than one.

Example: Our gated community has well maintained large swimming pools.

‘Swimming pools’ (verb + noun) is the plural compound noun here in this example, as it is used to refer to more than one swimming pool (two or more swimming pools).

Just like the above mentioned examples, all the compound nouns can take either singular or plural number based on the number of the person, place, thing or animal they are naming or denoting.

Conclusion

Thus, in this article we got the answer to the question ‘Is compound noun singular’ as yes, with the aid of the above explained facts and examples. Hence, compound nouns are singular when they are naming a person, an object or a place that has its grammatical number as one.

Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran

Hi... I am Sowndharya Jagadeeswaran, a university rank holder in M.A. English Literature. I have also done my master's in Business Administration. Inquisitive as I am, my interest in action-oriented research helped me publish research papers in reputed journals. Now, as a career, I am an instructor where I teach young and adorable students the intricate technicalities of Public Speaking and Creative Writing. I also enjoy writing articles on topics I specialize and research in. You can connect with me through LinkedIn.-https://www.linkedin.com/in/sowndharya-j-972378233

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