Compound Word Review

Contributor: Kristen Gardiner. Lesson ID: 11795

Are you a bookworm*? Maybe a homebody*? Do you own a rowboat*? What do these words* have in common? Learn about compound words, practice online*, and create your own puzzles to become a mastermind*!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


How would you solve or answer this problem?

butter and fly

I hope you didn't say ruined pancakes, because the answer is butterfly!

When you have two very different words and put them together to make a whole new word, that new word is called a compound word. Take a minute or two and think of a few compound words that come to mind, then share them with your parent or teacher.

Now, think about the separate, smaller words that you combined to make those compound words.

For example, let's go with mousepad. Sixty years ago, one might have thought a mousepad was a hip place where mice live. Today, we know that a mousepad is a textured rubber surface once used to help the functionality of roller ball computer mice. Now we just use them because they have cute pictures of kittens and YouTubers on them.

Here are two words that seemingly have little to do with one another, fused together to make a new word. Each of the individual words, "mouse" and "pad," are the base words of the word "mousepad," just like the words "butter" and "fly" are the base words of "butterfly."

As you can see, compound words are made up of two words that function as a single unit of meaning.

There are actually three types of compound words:

  • Closed form compound words, like the examples in this lesson, are made up of two base words that are joined together. The meaning of each word may or may not help you define the meaning of the new compound word. There are many closed form compound words that are part of compound word families, meaning they share a similar base word, such as "book." From "book," we can get "notebook," "textbook," "schoolbook," "sketchbook," and so on.
  • There are also hyphenated form compound words. As the name suggests, these are compound words whose roots are separated by a hyphen (-). Some examples include "mother-in-law" and "ten-year-old."
  • Some compound words are open form, meaning they go together but are separated with a space, like "post office" and "full moon."

For now, we are going to stick with the closed form, but just know that the other types do exist, and they are technically compound words.

Now, think back to the examples you shared with your parent or teacher earlier in the lesson, and tell him or her the base words of each of your examples.

So far, are you comfortable with identifying compound words? If so, move on to the Got It? section for some practice.

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