Compounds Like Hilltop and Fireplace
1. In the previous lesson you saw that a compound like catbird shortens the phrase “bird like a cat.” Compounds like hilltop and snowball shorten phrases that are very similar:
A hilltop is the top of a hill
A snowball is a ball of snow.
Fill in the blanks:
A fingertip is the tip of a finger .
A heartbeat is a beat of a heart .
A raindrop is a drop of rain.
A windstorm is a storm of wind.
A fireball is a ball of fire.
2. Now try some the other way around:
The cap of the knee is the kneecap .
The side of the mountain is the mountainside .
The shore of the sea is the seashore .
At the circus the master of the ring is the ringmaster .
When you stand on the moon, the shine of the earth is earthshine .
3. Here is a similar pattern:
A fireplace is a place for fires.
A flowerpot is a pot for flowers.
Fill in the blanks:
An armhole is a hole for the arm .
Wallpaper is paper for the wall .
A bookcase is a case for books .
A shoestring is a string for a shoe.
Earphones are phones for the ears .
An armband is a band for an arm .
A battleship is a ship for battle .
A birdcage is a cage for birds.
A boathouse is a house for boats .
A classroom is a room for classes.
4. Try some the other way around:
A bell for the door is a doorbell.
The time for dinner is dinnertime .
A hook for fish is a fishhook.
A cloth for dishes is a dishcloth .
A spread for the bed is a bedspread .
A rack for books is a bookrack.
A house for boats is a boathouse .
A line for clothes is a clothesline .
Ware for dinner is dinnerware .
A ring for the ear is an earring .
A shade for the eyes is an eyeshade .
A brush for the hair is a hairbrush.
Cuffs for your hands are handcuffs .
A shoe for a horse is a horseshoe
A house for ice is an icehouse.
A tie for the neck is a necktie .
A track for races is a racetrack.
A yard for ships is a shipyard.
Perhaps a good short answer for the students should the question arise would be “We don't keep the plural suffixes in compounds because we are following a pattern that started many hundreds of years ago when English was still a young language.”