Spelling English compounds

March 1, 2021 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

English is an ever-confusing language even to those of us who are native speakers and writers. One of the most common stumblingblocks is the word (or word) that is made of two nouns, or the compound noun.

Do you write it as one word or two?

Sometimes dictionaries or stylebooks help, but often they don’t. Sometimes they don’t because the word is still in flux. That is, it can be used both ways.

So, what do you do?

You go to a website that will tell you what the most common usage is. That website has been put together by Christina Sanchez-Stockhammer, author of a book about compound nouns.

This is a pretty nifty site, so you might want to bookmark it. How to spell English compounds – based on linguistic research

Illustration: This is what it looks like when you have a compound word you want to research.

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