Compound adjectives

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Compound adjectives

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What vocabulary helps you describe a car journey that took nine hours - or an airline that offers cheap tickets? The answer is compound adjectives and Finn and Catherine are here to tell you more in this weeks 6 Minute Vocabulary.

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Finn Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I’m Finn…

Catherine
And I’m Catherine. In today’s programme we’re looking at compound adjectives, like in a 22-hour journey .

Finn
We’ll look at what compound adjectives are…

Catherine
… we’ll see how to use them…

Finn
There’ll be a punctuation tip and a quiz…

Catherine
And we’ll leave you with a top tip for learning vocabulary.

Finn
But first, let’s hear from Rob. Rob’s a racing driver and he’s being interviewed after a race.

Catherine
And here’s a question to think about while you listen: how fast was Rob’s lap time?

Finn
Let’s find out.

INSERT
Interviewer
Rob, congratulations on your latest win. What did that last victory mean to you?

Rob
Honestly, I expected to win. I mean, you don’t come second in a high-quality vehicle like mine.

Interviewer
That’s true - it’s an impressive motor - but what you did was amazing: your fastest lap time was truly incredible.

Rob
Well, you’re right. You don’t see a seventy-second lap every day.

Interviewer
Thanks for your time Rob. Well, this year the drivers are hoping to complete the four-kilometre course in an even faster time…

STING

Finn
So, Rob the racing driver did a seventy-second lap.

Catherine
Well done if you got that right.

Finn
And that’s our first example of a compound adjective. It’s made with a number, like seventy , and a noun, like second . Seventy-second . We put seventy-second in front of another noun, like lap , making a compound adjective which describes a noun. A seventy-second lap.

Catherine
Let’s hear another example, again starting with a number, but this time the noun describes length instead of time.

INSERT Interviewer Well, this year the drivers are hoping to complete the four-kilometre course in an even faster time.

Finn
So the number four , with the noun kilometre , go together to make an adjective: four-kilometre . And take note: there’s no s at the end of kilometre .

Catherine
That’s right: there’s no s because the word kilometre functions as an adjective here - and we can’t make adjectives plural. The adjective four-kilometre describes the noun course . A four-kilometre course.

Finn
Some more examples with length are…

Catherine
A 26-mile race; a six-foot man.

Finn
Now for a punctuation note. When you write a number-noun compound adjective, you need to join the two parts together with a hyphen - a little horizontal line between the two words.

Catherine
That’s right. So you write a seventy-second lap. A six-foot man.

STING
You’re listening to BBC Learning English.

Finn And we’re talking about compound adjectives. Here’s Rob again. Listen out for another type of compound adjective.

INSERT Rob Honestly, I expected to win. I mean, you don’t come second in a high-quality vehicle like mine.

Catherine
Did you get that? It was high-quality . A high-quality vehicle .

Finn
So, as well as using numbers, we can also make compound adjectives with the words high or low plus a noun.

Catherine
High plus quality equals high-quality . Like high-quality vehicle .

Finn
Low plus cost equals low-cost . Like low-cost airline . How do you feel about low-cost airlines, Catherine?

Catherine
After my last experience, never again… Some more examples are, Finn?

Finn High-speed . A high-speed motorbike.

Catherine
And low-fat. A low-fat yoghurt. And if you’re writing, remember to join the 2 parts together with a hyphen.

Finn
And now it’s quiz time. Complete these sentences. Catherine will tell you the answers. Ready? Number one. In a balanced diet, it’s important to eat … a) high-quality carbohydrates or b) high-qualities carbohydrates.

Catherine
It’s a) high-quality carbohydrates.

Finn
Well done if you got that. Number two. The flight from London to New York is … a) a nines-hour trip or b) a nine-hour trip.

Catherine
The answer’s b) a nine-hour trip .

Finn
Number three. Every morning, Catherine goes for a) a six-mile run or b) a six-miles run.

Catherine
The answer’s a) a six-mile run . But I don’t.

Finn
You don’t really, do you?

Catherine No.

Finn
In any case, well done if you got that right at home. And we’re almost at the end of the show. But before we go, here’s today’s top tip for learning vocabulary, which is, Catherine…

Catherine
If you use social media, join an English learning group. When you learn a new word, try to include it in at least 3 of your posts. That will help you remember the word.

Finn
There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

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