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Stress in Compound Nouns

Introducing the Topic

Tell your students that a compound noun is a noun that is made up of two or more nouns. The first noun describes the second noun in some way.

A compound noun can be:

one word: password, website
two words: business school, labor union, market sector
a hyphenated word: fund-raiser 

Explain that compound nouns function as a single unit and that the stress is almost always on the first word of the compound noun.

For example:

SAFEty issue
CHILD labor
TAX advantage


Compound Nouns

Go over some compound nouns used in business and point out that the stress is almost always on the first word of the compound noun. Then have students do the practice activity below.

Compound Nouns
accounting firm
advertising agency
age discrimination
balance sheet
bank loan
benefits package
business ethics
business model
business school
business trip
business people
child labor
conference room
credit card
debit card
employee benefits
government regulation
health care
home page
human resources
human rights
internet marketing
labor market
labor union
manufacturing facilities
market sector
mission statement
operating costs
opportunity cost
performance review
pyramid scheme
retirement planning
risk management
safety issue
sales practices
stock broker
stock exchange
stock market
tax advantages
tax breaks
tax payments
television commercial
time management
trade secrets
web page
workplace safety



Practice saying the sentences below, focusing on putting the stress in the correct place.

1. I struggle with time management, so I’m trying to limit the amount of time I spend on websites that aren’t related to work.
2. I need my passport for my upcoming business trip.
3. Their benefits package includes health insurance and other employee benefits.
4. We’ve redone the homepage on our website.
5. Workplace safety is a big issue for us, and we always try to identify potential safety risks in our manufacturing facilities.
6. The accounting firm has performance reviews in May and December.
7. Thousands of stock brokers work at the New York Stock Exchange.
8. We proudly display our mission statement in all our conference rooms.
9. There is a rumor of new government regulations which might affect our tax advantages.
10. They refuse to do business with any suppliers that use child labor.
11. Is this a credit card or a debit card?