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Using a number and a noun to make a compound adjective in English

Build your vocabulary: how to make an adjective with a number and a noun

by | 13 Jan 2017 | English Language


Good news! There is an easy way in English to form a compound adjective, i.e. an adjective made of two –sometimes three– words.
You have probably already seen some and there are different types of words that can be used to make a compound adjective but here, you will learn how to make a compound adjective using a number and a noun.

How it helps and when you may need it:

It is a good, useful way to avoid longer sentences. Remember that in English, sentences are usually quite short. They are more direct than in many other languages.

How to form a compound adjective with a number and a noun:

Take a number, add the singular noun you need, hyphenate them and there, you have your adjective!

Say you want to talk about a hotel that has a rating of five stars.
Take the number: five
Add the noun in the singular form: star
Hyphenate them: fivestar

Now when you want to talk about that hotel, you can say it is a five-star hotel.

Careful! Remember to keep the noun in the singular form even if the number makes you feel there should be an s for the plural because, as you know, it is now an adjective and there is no s at the end of adjectives in English! Also, remember to add a hyphen between the number and the noun.

You can combine any number with a noun in the same way. Look at more examples:

  • a building with 6 floors → a six-floor building
  • a note of 50 euros → a fifty-euro note
  • a drive that lasts 20 minutes → a twenty-minute drive
  • a walk that takes 5 minutes → a five-minute walk
  • a flight that lasts 10 hours → a ten-hour flight
  • a delay of 2 hours → a two-hour delay
  • a spreadsheet with 25 columns → a twenty-five-column spreadsheet
  • a teenager who is 15 years old → a fifteen-year-old teenager


There you are! Can you find more examples? Great! Future readers of this blog post will find your examples useful, too, so please share them in the comment box at the bottom of the page. Thank you! 🙂


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  1. Marianne

    an one-night stand

    • Yolaine

      Good find, Marianne! It is a one-night stand (a and not an because the initial sound for the word one is w, a consonant sound).
      For those who don’t know its meaning, it actually has two meanings: it can be a show – a play for instance – that lasts only one night at a specific place or it can be a sexual relationship that lasts one night only.

  2. Marianne

    a three-course dinner

    • Yolaine

      Yes! Thank you for your contribution Marianne 🙂

  3. Cléone

    A thirty-two-storey building

    • Yolaine

      Yes, good example Cleone, thank you! 🙂

  4. Mahdoosh

    A one-armed man

    • Yolaine Bodin

      That’s a good example, too. Thank you 🙂

  5. Igor

    What about a one-thousand-meter road?

    • Yolaine Bodin

      Yes, it works nicely, too! We could also say “a one-kilometer road” for the same road 😉
      Thank you Igor


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