Compound Adjective

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Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: April 27, 2024

Compound Adjective

Compound adjectives are an indispensable part of English language, allowing us to express complex ideas with nuance and clarity. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the intricacies of using compound adjectives, complete with unique adjective examples and easy-to-follow tips.

What is a Compound Adjective? – Definition

A compound adjective is a type of adjective that consists of more than one word, often hyphenated, to better describe a noun. For example, the term “well-known” in the sentence “He is a well-known actor” is a compound adjective that adds depth to the noun ‘actor’.

What is the Best Example of a Compound Adjective?

The best example to illustrate a compound adjective is “ice-cold water”. Here, “ice-cold” is a compound adjective made up of two words, “ice” and “cold”, hyphenated to act as a single descriptive term. It provides a vivid, precise picture of just how cold the water is.

100 Compound Adjective Examples

Compound Adjective Examples
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Delve deeper into the world of compound adjectives with this curated list of 100 unique and distinct examples. Get inspired to enhance your language skills!

  1. Fast-paced
  2. Heavy-handed
  3. Long-lasting
  4. Well-intentioned
  5. All-knowing
  6. Fresh-faced
  7. Hand-picked
  8. Eye-catching
  9. Self-aware
  10. Time-sensitive
  11. Tongue-tied
  12. Soft-spoken
  13. Full-time
  14. Age-old
  15. Old-fashioned
  16. Brand-new
  17. Cut-throat
  18. Well-equipped
  19. All-inclusive
  20. Light-headed
  21. Ill-advised
  22. Free-thinking
  23. Mind-blowing
  24. Short-sighted
  25. Heart-wrenching
  26. Kind-hearted
  27. Self-employed
  28. High-flying
  29. Low-key
  30. Never-ending
  31. Hard-hitting
  32. Quick-witted
  33. Bad-tempered
  34. Up-to-date
  35. Laid-back
  36. Long-term
  37. Narrow-minded
  38. Last-minute
  39. Deep-rooted
  40. Ever-changing
  41. Budget-friendly
  42. Hair-raising
  43. Easy-going
  44. High-speed
  45. World-renowned
  46. Far-reaching
  47. Well-spoken
  48. Middle-aged
  49. Well-dressed
  50. Two-faced
  51. Worry-free
  52. High-risk
  53. Long-distance
  54. Family-oriented
  55. Small-scale
  56. Low-cost
  57. Second-hand
  58. Far-off
  59. Hot-headed
  60. Cold-blooded
  61. Child-friendly
  62. Over-the-top
  63. User-friendly
  64. Cold-hearted
  65. Good-natured
  66. Bright-eyed
  67. Short-term
  68. Thick-skinned
  69. Non-stop
  70. Sweet-smelling
  71. Down-to-earth
  72. All-out
  73. Clean-cut
  74. Hard-working
  75. Early-morning
  76. High-quality
  77. Full-blown
  78. Custom-built
  79. Single-handed
  80. Long-standing
  81. Open-minded
  82. Self-contained
  83. High-level
  84. Close-knit
  85. Self-made
  86. Ground-breaking
  87. Up-and-coming
  88. Good-looking
  89. Self-sufficient
  90. Mouth-watering
  91. Out-of-date
  92. Top-of-the-line
  93. Far-fetched
  94. Hard-to-find
  95. Under-the-weather
  96. True-blue
  97. Weak-kneed
  98. Lily-livered
  99. Loose-lipped
  100. Awe-inspiring

Compound Adjective Sentence Examples

Here are the compelling sentences that feature compound adjectives

  1. The fast-paced city life leaves me breathless.
  2. His heavy-handed approach to management was not well-received.
  3. She gave him a long-lasting impression on their first date.
  4. His well-intentioned advice ended up causing more harm than good.
  5. The all-knowing oracle predicted the outcome of the war.
  6. The fresh-faced recruit was eager to learn.
  7. The hand-picked flowers were a hit at the party.
  8. The eye-catching billboard drew lots of customers to the new restaurant.
  9. She is self-aware enough to recognize her own faults.
  10. Please complete this time-sensitive task by the end of the day.

How to Use Compound Adjectives? – Expanded Step by Step Guide

Step 1: Identify the Noun

Your first task is to identify the noun you intend to modify. Is it a person, place, thing, or idea? Knowing your target noun will guide your choice of compound adjectives.

Step 2: Choose the Right Words

The next step is to select the individual words that will form your compound adjective. Consider the message you want to convey and the tone you want to set.

Step 3: Use a Hyphen or Not?

In most cases, you’ll need to hyphenate the words to form your compound adjective. However, common phrases like “real estate” may not require a hyphen when used adjectivally, e.g., “real estate agent.”

Step 4: Placement

Compound adjectives usually precede the noun they modify, especially if you want to focus the reader’s attention on a particular aspect of that noun.

Step 5: Double Check Context

Always look at the sentence as a whole to ensure that the compound adjective is serving its purpose and not causing any confusion.

Step 6: Use Sparingly

Compound adjectives are powerful, but using too many can make your text confusing or harder to read. Use them where they can make the most impact.

Step 7: Proofread

A final proofreading step ensures that you’ve spelled everything correctly, and that your hyphens are in place.

Step 8: Peer Review

If possible, have someone else read your work to make sure that your compound adjectives are effective and properly used.

Tips for Using Compound Adjectives

  1. Be Consistent: Once you decide to hyphenate, stick to it throughout your text.
  2. Avoid Redundancy: Use compound adjectives that add value and avoid ones that are redundant.
  3. Check Spelling: Always double-check the spelling, especially the hyphenation.
  4. Read Aloud: Reading your text aloud can help you identify where compound adjectives would be most effective.

Master the art of using compound adjectives to enrich your vocabulary and make your sentences more descriptive and engaging.

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