Is there a limit on the number of nouns than can be used to make a compound noun ?

For example, "water tank" and "christmas tree" are made of two words.

Is it correct the write for example "code attribution problem" ?

  • Your example is correct. The "first longest compound noun" that came to me was "online US coffee table book store". Let the games begin...
    – Tushar Raj
    Jan 25 '17 at 9:27
  • @Tushar Raj These are not compound nouns; they are syntactic constructions comprising noun + noun as attributive modifier.
    – BillJ
    Jan 25 '17 at 17:00
  • @BillJ I trust you. Quentin, go with what BillJ said.
    – Tushar Raj
    Jan 25 '17 at 17:22

There are no apparent limits imposed on how many words a compound noun is allowed to contain in the English language. Common sense and good judgment are really your only friends here. As long as the thing that you are writing is readable and understandable, you are fine. Though, most typically that number lies somewhere between 2 and 4.

And yes, code attribution problem sounds absolutely fine.

  • 1
    "Christmas tree" and "water tank" are not compound nouns. They are syntactic constructions comprising noun + noun as attributive modifier. Compound nouns are single words like beehive, palm-tree, fuel-oil, blackbird, plaything, self-control, window-cleaner, hanger-on and so on.
    – BillJ
    Jan 25 '17 at 17:10
  • @BillJ I have read on several occasion the notion of "open compound" such as here (random result on google). Is it different than a "syntactic constructions comprising noun + noun as attributive modifier" ?
    – Quentin
    Jan 26 '17 at 9:42

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