Compound Words Exercise (481)

In each sentence a compound word or phrase is incorrectly open, closed, or hyphenated. Identify the incorrect word or phrase and style it correctly.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: Some used bookstores are still thriving somehow, but their long-term prognosis is doubtful.
Correct : Some used-book stores are still thriving somehow, but their long-term prognosis is doubtful.

"Bookstores" is a closed compound, but when the reference is to a store that sells used books, the word should be broken into two and the phrasal adjective "used books," which modifies "stores," should be hyphenated. Otherwise, the sentence implies that the reference is to bookstores that are used.

2.
Original: The image consisted of a closeup of part of the flowchart.
Correct : The image consisted of a close-up of part of the flow chart.

Like most compounds in which the first letter of the second word is a vowel, "close-up" is hyphenated; "flow chart" is an open compound.

3.
Original: He remained level-headed as he reached into the tool box.
Correct : He remained levelheaded as he reached into the toolbox.

Both "levelheaded" and "toolbox" are closed compounds.

4.
Original: She ate too many hot-dogs and got a stomach ache.
Correct : She ate too many hot dogs and got a stomachache.

"Hot dog" is an open compound, but "stomachache," though it looks odd, is closed in order to be consistent with "headache" and other similar terms.

5.
Original: It’s a little-known byproduct of emissions from tailpipes.
Correct : It’s a little-known by-product of emissions from tail pipes.

"Little-known" is correctly hyphenated. "By-product" is one of a small group of hyphenated compound nouns; "tail pipes" is an open compound.

Related Articles