A compound adjective is a fixed expression which is made up of more
than one word and which has the function of an adjective. Most compound
adjectives are written with a hyphen, but a few are written as one word:
The following types of compound adjective usually have main stress on the first part:
The following types of compound adjective usually have main stress on the second part:
noun + adjective
,snow-'white(and other colour compounds)
adjective + noun
adverb or adjective + past participle
adverb or adjective + -ing form
Exceptions: 'backward-,looking, 'forward-,looking
self- as the first part
Most compound adjectives with main stress on the second part (including
the exceptions in 17B) can have stress shift (see Unit 10B). Compare: The tiger was fully-GROWN. but: It was a FULly-grown TIger.
The prices were sky-HIGH. but: They were SKY-high PRIces.
Two-, three- and four-letter abbreviations said as individual
letters often have main stress on the last letter and secondary stress
on the first: the ,E'U the ,U'K the ,BB'C ,DN'A the ,YMC'A Abbreviations like this usually have stress shift. Compare:
He works for the BBC. but: He works for BBC RAdio.
She's from the UK. but: She's a UK CITizen.
Read the profile of Sarah Fox. Focus on the compound adjectives in
bold (some are given in B and C opposite) and circle the syllable you
think will have main stress. Remember some have stress shift. Key.
Now listen and check your answers. Finally, read the description aloud.
Do you know the meaning of the abbreviations in column A? If not,
check in a dictionary or the Key. Then listen to the abbreviations and
repeat them. Notice that the main stress is always on the last letter.
Finally, choose an appropriate abbreviation from each pair to complete
the sentence in column B. Key.
CEO / DVD
She's the company's CEO .
AOB / PC
My laptop was advertised in a magazine called __________ World.
OHP / NHS
She works as a nurse for the __________.
ATM / RP
There aren't many people here who speak __________.
AGM / RSI
The __________'s cancelled.
TLC / VAT
She just needs a lot of rest and a bit of __________.
UFO / WHO
We've followed all the __________ guidelines.
EU / RSVP
They're meeting at the __________ summit in Brussels.
CV / ETA
If there are no delays, what's your __________?
CD / IT
The software's on a __________-ROM.
CND / DIY
He spends most weekends doing __________.
GMT / HGV
The eclipse is at 9 o'clock __________.
Now listen and check your answers. Finally, say the sentences aloud. The Key gives details of stress shift.
Follow up: Skim through an English newspaper (either a paper copy or
online), and find compound adjectives. Do you know where the main
stress is in each of them? (Use a dictionary to check.)