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According to their morphological composition adjectives can be subdivided into simple, derived and compound.

Simple adjectives have no affixes and thus cannot be further segmented.

e.g. red, white, big, kind.

Derived adjectives are recognizable morphologically. They consist of one root morpheme and one or more derivational morphemes − suffixes or prefixes (see APPENDIX).

Compound adjectives consist of at least two stems and can be formed in the following ways:

1. from adjective + noun. e.g. a cheap-rate phone-call

2. with numbers (plural -s in never used!) denoting:

-age: a three-year-old building, a four-year-old child

-volume: a two-litre car

-length: a twelve-inch ruler

-price: a fifty-dollar dress, a fifty-euro ticket

-weight: a five-kilo bag

-area: a twenty-acre farm

-duration: a four-hour meeting, a three-hour journey

-depth: a six-foot hole

-time/distance: a ten-minute walk, a two-hour meeting

3. with a noun + adjective. e.g. a tax-free car, an air-tight box

4. with a noun / adverb / adjective + participle.

e.g. I hope it will be a money-making enterprise. They are well-behaved children. The newly-built ship is on its maiden voyage. A worried-looking lawyer left the court. We walked past an evil-smelling pond. A slow-moving lorry was causing the delays.

a fast-flowing river; a freshly-made footprint; a life-saving operation a tree-lined street; a French-speaking area; a self-employed plumber; a tight-fitting dress; a mass-produced product.

5. with an adjective/adverb + a noun + the suffix Ėed.

e.g. blue-eyed, long-legged, fair-haired, down-hearted.

Notice that we can use some participle adjectives only when they are used in this pattern. For example, we can't say '...a making enterprise', '...behaved children', or '...a built ship' as the sense is incomplete without the adverb or noun.

Notice that in all the cases parts of a compound adjective are connected by a hyphen.

Exercise 16. Instead of saying 'a journey which took three hours', we can say 'a three-hour journey'. We have made a compound adjective by connecting the number and the noun, which is used in the singular. In the spaces below put similar compound adjectives made from the words in the brackets.

1. We went on a _____ walk. (We went five miles) 2. There will now be a _____ break. (It will last ten minutes) 3. She's written a _____ book. (It has 200 pages) 4. It's a _____ hotel. (It has 20 storeys) 5. We had a _____ holiday. (It lasted two weeks) 6. He's bought a _____ boat. (It's ten metres long) 7. She's started a _____ English course. (It will last six months) 8. The President will go on a _____ tour in April. (He'll visit five countries) 9. He drives a _____ lorry. (It weighs two tons) 10. He was wearing a _____ suit. (It cost 500 dollars)

Exercise 17. Rewrite the following sentences using compound adjectives, according to the examples of the adjectives referring to:

1. The office-block costs two million pounds. Itís a two-million-pound office-block.

2. The woman is seventy years old. She is ___________.

3. The conference lasts two days. Itís ___________.

4. The farm is eighty hectares. Itís ___________.

5. The journey takes three days. Itís ___________.

6. The bag weighs five kilos. Itís ___________.

7. The fence is twenty miles. Itís ___________.

8. My engine is three litres. Itís ___________.

9. Itís a note for fifty pounds. Itís ___________.

10. The tunnel is seventy kilometres. Itís ___________.

Exercise 18. A field which is fifty acres in extent is a fifty-acre field. Make similar compound adjectives from the following:

1. a programme which lasts half an hour is a __________ programme;

2. a drive which takes five hours is a_________ drive;

3. a lorry which can carry 15 tons is a _________ lorry;

4. a flight which lasts 3,5 hours is a_________ flight;

5. a ruler which measures up to twelve inches is a ________ ruler;

6. an engine with a capacity of 3,5 litres is a ________ engine;

7. a child which is five years old is a_________ child;

8. a man whose height is six feet is a________ man;

9. a walk which covers eight miles is a_________ walk;

10. a tank with a capacity of 16 gallons is a_________ tank;

11. a 300mm telephoto lens is a _________ telephoto lens;

12. a **** hotel is a _________ hotel;

13. a freeze (on bank accounts) for two months is a ______ freeze;

14. celebrations for three days are ______ celebrations;

15. a ring road with five drives is a ______ ring road;

16. the first film which lasted for three minutes is a _______ film;

A castle which was built in the fourteenth century is a fourteenth-century castle. Make similar compound adjectives with the following:

1. a student who is in his second year is a _______ student;

2. a flat on the third floor is a_______ flat;

3. a computer which is of the second generation is a _______ computer;

4. a decision made at the last minute is a ________decision;

5. an excellent meal is a ________-class meal;

6. a very poor production is a ________-rate production;

7. a cathedral built in the eleventh century is a _______ castle;

8. a student who is in his fourth year is a _______ student;

Exercise 19. Here are 14 compound adjectives and definitions for 10 of them. Can you match them?

blue-eyed, bow-legged, broad-minded, broad-shouldered, cross-eyed, flat-footed, good-natured, knock-kneed, left-handed, narrow-minded, open-hearted, round-shouldered, short-tempered, thick-skinned


1. describes someone who gets angry very easily;

2. describes the result of too much horse-riding;

3. describes a very tolerant person;

4. describes an intolerant person;

5. we call the bossís favourite Ď the bossís ______ boyí;

6. describes a person with a pleasant, generous character;

7. describes a person who is not at all sensitive to other peopleís feelings;

8. ten per cent of the population are this. You notice it when they write, for example;

9. describes your appearance if you try to look at the tip of your own nose;

10. describes, for example, a boxerís physique (body).


Date: 2015-04-20; view: 1791

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