- Compound Nouns: the Basics
- Gender of the Compound Nouns
- Plural Form of the Compound Nouns
Compound Nouns: the Basics
Rule 1: A compound noun is a word made up of several elements (adjectives, nouns, verbs, prepositions, adverbs). These elements may or may not be linked by a hyphen.
the coat rack
la pomme de terre
Gender of the Compound Nouns
Rule 2: The gender of the compound nouns can be very complicated, but there are a few rules that should help you determine it:
- When the noun is created out of two nouns, it matches the gender of the first noun. When there is a noun and an adjective, gender matches that of the noun.
a grandmother (f)
- When there are prepositions in the compound noun, it's usually masculine.
a rainbow (m)
- The prefix mi- (mid) is almost always feminine.
Plural Form of the Compound Nouns
Rule 3: The plural of compound nouns is complicated, but we can stick to these three tips:
- Usually, nouns and adjectives both change in the plural.
une grand-mère - des grands-mères
grandmother - grandmothers
- When there are prepositions in the compound noun, only the first noun generally agrees.
un arc en ciel - des arcs en ciel
rainbow - rainbows
- The word "demi" (half) is invariable.
une demi-journée - des demi-journées
half-day - half-days