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Compound nouns

Posted by ESC on February 19, 2004

In Reply to: Knee-jerk posted by Sathyaish on February 19, 2004

: A loadful of thanks, Barney. I liked your reply very much and you were very elaborate with it. Thanks for the education.

From Merriam-Webster online:

One entry found for knee-jerk.
Main Entry: knee-jerk
Pronunciation: 'nE-"j&rk, -'j&rk
Function: adjective
: readily predictable : AUTOMATIC Knee-jerk reactions>; also : reacting in a readily predictable way. Knee-jerk liberals.

The answer to your other question is:

Compound nouns -- Compounds are formed by combining two, or sometimes more, words.

There are several rules related to whether to hyphenate or not hyphenate (see above site and other sites online for a list).

My Associated Press Stylebook says:
When a compound modifier -- two or more words that express a single concept - (like knee-jerk) precedes a noun, use hyphens to link all the words in the compound except the adverb "very" and all adverbs that end in -ly.

Also, if a compound modifier occurs after a form of the verb "to be," hyphenate to avoid confusion (The man is well-dressed.)