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Compound adjectives

Compound adjectives are made up of two or more stems. Here are the main types of compound adjectives:

a) noun-stem + adjective-stem: point-blank, raven-haired,

b) adjective-stem + noun-stem: small-scale, small-time, blue-collar,

c) adjective-stem + adjective-stem: deaf-mute, good-looking, small-minded.

Exercise 4. Rewrite the following sentences using compound adjectives, according to the examples of the adjectives referring to:

-age: a three-year-old building

-volume: a two-litre car

-length: a twelve-inch ruler

-price: a fifty-dollar dress

-weight: a five-kilo bag

-area: a twenty-acre farm

-duration: a four-hour meeting

-depth: a six-foot hole

-time/distance: a ten-minute walk

  1. The office-block costs two million pounds. It’s a two-million-pound office -block.

  2. The woman is seventy years old. She is ______.

  3. The conference lasts two days. It’s ______.

  4. The farm is eighty hectares. It’s ______.

  5. The journey takes three days. It’s ______.

  6. The bag weighs five kilos. It’s ______.

  7. The fence is twenty miles. It’s ______.

  8. My engine is three litres. It’s ______.

  9. It’s a note for fifty pounds. It’s ______.

  10. The tunnel is seventy kilometres. It’s ______.

Exercise 5. A field which is fifty acres in extent is a fifty-acre field. Make similar compound adjectives from the following:

  1. a programme which lasts half an hour is a _______ programme;

  2. a drive which takes five hours is a_____ drive;

  3. a lorry which can carry 15 tons is a _____ lorry;

  4. a flight which lasts 3 1/2 hours is a_____ flight;

  5. a ruler which measures up to twelve inches is a ______ ruler;

  6. an engine with a capacity of 3 1/2 litres is a _____ engine;

  7. a child which is five years old is a_____ child;

  8. a man whose height is six feet is a____ man;

  9. a walk which covers eight miles is a_____ walk;

  10. a tank with a capacity of 16 gallons is a_____ tank;

  11. a 300mm telephoto lens is a _____ telephoto lens;

  12. a **** hotel is a ______ hotel;

A castle which was built in the fourteenth century is a fourteenth-century castle. Make similar compound adjectives with the following:

  1. a student who is in his second year is a _____ student;

  2. a flat on the third floor is a_____ flat;

  3. a computer which is of the second generation is a _____ computer;

  4. a decision made at the last minute is a ______decision;

  5. an excellent meal is a ______-class meal;

  6. a very poor production is a ______-rate production;

2. Participles used as adjectives

Both present participles (ing) and past participles (ed) can be used as adjectives. But be careful not to confuse them. Present participle adjectives, tiring, boring, interesting, are active and mean ‘having this effect’. Past participle adjectives, tired, bored, interested, are passive and mean ‘affected in this way’. In other words, someone is -ed if something (or someone) is -ing. Or, if something is -ing, it makes you -ed.

Jane is bored because her job is boring. Jane’s job is boring so Jane is bored.

Other pairs of participle adjectives are:

amusing amused exhausting exhausted

amazing amazed frightening frightened

annoying annoyed horrifying horrified

confusing confused shocking shocked

depressing depressed terrifying terrified

exciting excited worrying worried

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