Compounds Like Dogcatcher and Steamboat — and Others
1. The follwing compounds all contain the suffix -er that means “one that does”:
Someone who catches dogs is called a dogcatcher .
Someone who slaps backs is called a backslapper .
Someone who keeps books is called a bookkeeper .
Someone who goes to church is called a churchgoer .
Someone who makes dresses is called a dressmaker .
Someone who fights fires is called a firefighter .
Someone who owns a home is called a homeowner.
Someone who breaks the law is called a lawbreaker .
Something that saves lifes is called a lifesaver .
Someone who builds ships is called a shipbuilder .
Someone who holds stock is called a stockholder .
Someone who makes trouble is called a troublemaker .
2. Here is a new pattern. Fill in the blanks:
If steam runs the boat, it is called a steamboat .
If wind runs the mill, it is called a windmill .
If a motor runs the cycle, it is called a motorcycle .
If water turns the wheel, it is called a waterwheel .
3. And here is a lightly different pattern:
A bee that makes honey is called a honeybee .
A girl who works with cows is called a cowgirl .
A glass that measures the hours is called an hourglass .
A mate who shares a room is called a roommate .
A man who makes sales is called a salesman .
4. Fill in the blanks:
Bread you make with ginger is gingerbread .
Sauce you make with apples is applesauce.
A knife you carry in your pocket is a pocketknife .
Wax made by bees is beeswax .
Cake eaten with coffee is coffeecake.
Work you do at home is homework .
A pot in which you make tea is a teapot .
A tub in which you take baths is a bathtub .
A room in which you take baths is a bathroom .
Paste with which you clean your teeth is toothpaste .
Water is which you wash dishes is dishwater .
The room in which you eat lunch is the lunchroom.
A field in which people fight a battle is a battlefield .
Word Venn. This Venn can be a bit tricky because you have eight different groups to worry about. But if you go slowly and surely and are careful to check off words as you enter them into the circles, you should be able to get things all sorted out. Inside circle A put only compound words that contain the sound [r]. Inside circle B put only compounds that contain the sound [l]. Inside circle C put only compounds that contain the letter <y> spelling a vowel sound:
Notice that in most cases any plurals are stripped away from the first component in compounds: “a brush for brushing the teeth” is not a teethbrush, but a toothbrush. But two holdouts are salesman, not saleman, and beeswax, not *beewax. Compounds with man, men, woman, or women as the second component often retain a plural first component.
Word Venn. This three-dimensional Venn could create real confusion for some students. You may find it helpful to have the class interpret the diagram by writing out a description or formula for each of the eight areas: but no [l] and no vowel but no [r] and no vowel and vowel <y> but no no [r], no [l],and no vowel <y>, etc. If the group could work out such a description that could be put up on the board, then students could refer to it as they work through the exercise.