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1. Two nouns together


1 Introduction

Look at these phrases.
a bread knife = a knife for cutting bread
a cookery book = a book about cookery
a bus driver = someone who drives a bus
my birthday party = a party on my birthday
the street lights = the lights in the street
a paper bag = a bag made of paper
In English we often use one noun before another like this.

The two nouns are often written as separate words, but we sometimes use a hyphen (-), or we write them as a single word.
a tea break
at the tea-table
a large teapot
There are no exact rules about whether we join the words or not. If you are unsure, it is usually safest to
write two separate words.

2 A souvenir shop, etc.

Look at these examples.
a souvenir shop = a shop selling souvenirs
an animal hospital = a hospital for animals
through the letter-box = a box for letters
The first noun is usually singular. There are some exceptions, e.g. a sports club, a goods train, a clothes-brush, a sales conference.

3 A teacup and a cup of tea

Look at these pictures.

A teacup is a cup for holding tea.

A cup of tea is a cup full of tea.

Here are some more examples.

I picked up a cigarette packet.
I'll wash the milk bottle.

Gary opened a packet of cigarettes.
There's a bottle of milk in the fridge.

4 An -ing form + a noun

We can use an -ing form with a noun.
a sleeping-bag = a bag for sleeping in
a waiting-room = a room for waiting in
a washing-machine = a machine for washing clothes

5 Longer phrases

We can use more than two nouns.
a glass coffee-table
at Sydney Opera House
the bedroom carpet
the winter bus timetable
our Assistant Computer Technology Manager

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