1) Don’t Worry, Ma’am!
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: The Plural of Compound Nouns
Don’t Worry, Ma’am!
My mother-in-law was waiting in the checkout line at a shopping center.
Her arms were laden with a mop and broom and other cleaning supplies.
By her actions and deep sighs, it was obvious she was in a hurry and not happy about the slowness of the line.
When the cashier called for a price check on a box of soap, the woman remarked indignantly,
“Well, I’ll be lucky to get out of here and home before Christmas!”
“Don’t worry, ma’am,” replied the clerk. “With that wind kicking up out there and that brand new broom you have there, you’ll be home in no time.”
Let’s have a closer look at the words that you might find difficult to understand!
– The checkout is the place in a shop, especially a large shop, where you pay for your goods.
– Laden shows that the lady was carrying or holding a lot of things. This adjective is usually followed by the preposition “with”.
– Broom is a brush with a long handle, used for cleaning the floor. In folklore, witches use brooms to fly through the air at high speed.
– Supplies is a plural noun which refers to ood or other items necessary for living.
– Sigh is a slow noisy breath. You sigh when you are tired, sad, bored.
– Cashier is a person whose job is to receive and pay out money in a shop.
– When the cashier asked for a price check, he wanted to make sure that the price is correct.
– To kick up means to intensify. In our case, the wind was blowing strongly
Plural of Compound Nouns
What is a compound noun?
If we read the joke again, we can identify some compound nouns: “mother-in-law”, “checkout”, “shopping center”.
Looking at this examples, it becomes obvious that a compound noun is made up of two or more words used together.
Compound nouns can be:
– One word: shoelace, keyboard, flashlight, armchair, notebook, bedroom
– Hyphenated: forget-me-not, runner-up, baby-sitter, editor-in-chief, great-grandfather
– Two words: police officer, seat belt, high school, word processor, post office
How do we form the plural of compound nouns?
Forming the plural of compound nouns usually causes difficulties, but today we are going to make things simple. In order to form the plural of a compound noun, we have to pluralise the principal word or the head in the compound. When there is no obvious basic word, add “-s” or “-es” to the end of the compound.
Let’s have some examples.
mothers-in-law (mother is the basic term)
travel agents (agent is the principal word)
lookers-on (looker is the head)
forget-me-nots (there is no principal word)
break-ins (there is no basic term)
grown-ups (there is no obvious head)
However, you have to pay attention because there are some exceptions to this rule.
For example, when “man” and “woman” are a part of the compound, both terms of the compound are made plural.
When a compound noun is in the form container + ful (e.g. bucketful, cupful and handful), an “- s” is added to the end to form the plural.
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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.
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