Compound Nouns ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

Compound Noun Dominoes

ESL Compound Nouns Game - Matching and Speaking Activity - Elementary (A1-A2) - 25 minutes

In this free compound nouns game, students combine words together to form compound nouns. The first player puts down one of their dominoes on either side of the domino on the table, making sure that the words combine to form a compound noun. If the player forms a compound noun successfully, they score a point. For an extra point, the player then uses the compound noun in a sentence. The other players then take it in turns to match their dominoes in the same way by putting them down at either end of the domino chain and making a suitable sentence when a compound noun is formed. When a player has gotten rid of all their dominoes, the game ends. The students then add up their scores. The player with the most points wins the game. When the students have finished, go through the compound nouns and elicit the compound elements for each one, e.g. noun + noun, noun + verb, verb + noun, etc.
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Picture it

ESL Compound Nouns Game - Drawing and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

In this compound nouns drawing game, students guess compound nouns from pictures. One student from Team A comes up to the board. Give the student a card containing two words that when joined together form a compound noun. The student's task is to draw each word separately. The student is not allowed to speak or write anything. The student then draws the two words on the board. The first team to guess the compound noun wins and scores a point. For an extra point, the team then defines the compound noun. If the team is unable to define the word, the other team can steal the point by giving a correct definition. Then, a student from Team B comes to the board and so on. The game continues with teams taking it in turns to draw compound nouns until all the cards have been used. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. As an alternative, instead of asking for a definition, you could ask teams to tell you the compound elements (e.g. noun + noun, verb + noun, etc) or to use the compound noun in a sentence.
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Practice Makes Perfect

ESL Compound Nouns Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Exercises - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

This engaging compound nouns worksheet helps students learn and practice a variety of compound nouns and their compound elements. Students begin by looking at pictures and completing compound nouns with words from a box. Students then match each compound noun with its compound elements. Next, students complete sentences with suitable compound nouns from Exercise A. Students then move on to match words together to make 12 compound nouns. Afterwards, the students write the compound elements for each one. In the last exercise, students write a sentence about each picture using a compound noun.
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Interactive Version - In this compound nouns interactive worksheet, students learn compound nouns and the various types of compound elements that go into making a compound noun.

 

Same Same

ESL Compound Nouns Game - Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 30 minutes

In this fast-paced compound noun game, students race to create as many compound nouns as they can from specified words. You begin the game by picking up a card and calling out the word in bold, e.g. hair. In their teams, the students then race to write down as many compound nouns as they can think of using the word, e.g. hairbrush, hairdresser, haircut, hairstyle, etc. When a time limit has been reached (e.g. one minute), the teams stop writing and swap papers for marking. For each suitable compound noun that is not on your card, teams score a point. If a team has a compound noun that is on your card, they score two points. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins. When the students have finished, review the meaning of each compound noun and elicit each one's compound elements.
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Ask Me Anything

ESL Compound Nouns Activity - Reading, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this communicative compound nouns activity, students complete questions with one word to make closed compound nouns. Students then ask and answer the questions with a partner. In two groups, students complete each question on the worksheet with one word to make a compound noun. Next, the students think of possible follow-up questions for each item and write them down. Each student then pairs up with someone from the other group. The students then take it in turns to ask and answer the questions with their partner. When the students have finished, they report back to the class on what they found out about their partner.
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Interactive Version - In this compound nouns breakout room activity, pairs of students complete compound nouns in conversation questions and then practice asking and answering the questions with their partner.

 

Compound Conundrum

ESL Compound Noun Game - Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

This fun compound nouns game helps intermediate students develop their vocabulary knowledge by matching words together to form compound nouns. In pairs, students take it in turns to turn over one card from each set. If the two words match to make a compound noun, the student scores a point. Their partner checks the compound noun is correct by looking at their answer sheet. The student can then score an extra point by making a sentence with the compound noun. The student then keeps the cards. If the student is able to make a suitable sentence, they have another turn. If not, play passes to the other student. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins. When the students have finished, review the meaning of each compound noun with the class.
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Nouns Modifying Nouns

ESL Nouns Modifying Nouns Worksheet - Reading and Writing Exercises - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

This noun-noun phrases worksheet helps students learn and practice how to modify nouns with other nouns. These noun-noun collocations are sometimes called 'noun adjuncts' or 'qualifying nouns'. Read through the grammar explanation with the class. Students then begin by circling phrases containing two nouns and rewriting them in other words. After that, students write three nouns that can modify different nouns. When the students have finished, check their answers and give feedback. Next, students use nouns from a box to complete sentences with noun-noun phrases. Finally, students complete chains of noun collocations with nouns from a box.
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Interactive Version - Here is a noun-noun phrases interactive worksheet to help teach students how to modify nouns with other nouns.

 

What's the compound noun?

ESL Compound Nouns Game - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 50 minutes

In this captivating compound nouns game, students define compound nouns without using certain words and guess compound nouns from another team's descriptions. First, teams look at their cards and think about how they are going to define each compound noun without using the words on the cards or variations of the words. When the teams are ready with their descriptions, they pair up with an opposing team (Team A and B). Teams then take it in turns to pick up a card from their pile and define the compound noun to the other team, starting with the compound elements, e.g. noun + noun (bedroom), noun + verb (rainfall), etc. The opposing team has one minute to listen to the description and guess the compound noun. If the opposing team manages to guess the compound noun before the time limit has been reached, they win and keep the card. If not, the defining team wins and keeps the card. The team with the most cards at the end of the game wins.
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