Type 4: Special Noun + Noun – STRESS ON SECOND WORD

"Word Combination Lists" Start Page

Type 4 Start Page

Page 1:  4a.

Page 2:  4b

Page 3:  4c.

Page 4:  4d.

Page 5:  4e.


  4b: The First Word is a (common) Place, Group or Thing.

For example, the city centre (= the centre of the city) and world peace (= peace of the world).

A more accurate description of the usage of the word, "of" here is: "of" = "belongs to" or "of" = "part of".

Very often with Type 4 combinations, when the thing is of or for many people or many things, a singular noun is used. For example, "the student cafeteria" is the cafeteria for all the students; a child benefit  is a government benefit for children in general; and, in section 4c. we have "weekend activities", which are activities for all weekends, in general.

Most of these fit into the same pattern as "a/the company car". A company has many "things" such as "the company manager", "the company car park", "the company name", "the company bank account" etc. We stress the second word in order to more clearly differentiate which company thing we are talking about. Notice that often there is only one of these things and so the word "the" is often used with this word combination.


To further complicate the matter, some examples this type of word combination in British English are usually pronounced as Type 1 in American English.

It is sometimes difficult to know (or to guess) whether a two-word combination has Type 1 or Type 4 stress pattern. However, as your vocabulary increases and as your knowledge of the different, frequently used "sets" or groups of both Type 1 and Type 4 increases, you should then be able to guess correctly more often.

Here are some suggestions to help you guess correctly.

  1. Firstly, the vast majority of noun + noun (or other two-word combinations) that represent a noun use the Type 1 stress pattern. Something like 9 out of 10 are Type 1.

  1. Look at the first noun (or first word) and see what it seems to mean when in combination with the second noun. If it strongly suggests a type of the second noun, then it is probably Type 1. For example, "She's a college student" and, "My car is in the car park."

  1. If the first noun (or first word) is a thing that has several parts or several things that "belong to it", then think if the second noun is an example of one of these things. For example, a company or a school. If it is, the word combination is probably spoken as Type 4, which is really a variation of Type 2. For example, "She works in a college library" and, "I damaged my bicycle when I hit a car door." If the word, "the" is used before this word combination, it is even more likely to be Type 4. For example, "I'll meet you in the college library" and, "I hurt my finger in the car door". (The word, "the" can also be used before Type 1 combinations, as in "the car park".)

  1. The same word combination can be sometimes be either Type 1 or Type 4, depending on the meaning. For example: "What's that?" or, "What type of bus is that?" --> "It's a school bus". Or, "What hit that tree?" --> "It was a school bus." But: "Two boys had a fight on the school bus."

  1. Finally, think if the usage has a contrast meaning. See here for information on contrasting Type 4 noun + noun combinations.


School / College / University / Institute / Class / Classroom / Campus

the/a school assembly

the/a school auditorium

the classroom wall

the/a school bookshop

the/a school bus

a/the school cafeteria

the/a school canteen

the/a school concert

a school dinner

a/the school district

the/a school dormitory

the/a school football team

the/a school gate

the school grounds

a school governor

the/a school headmaster (principal)

the/a school holidays (vacation)

the/a school library

the/a school nurse

the/a school playground

the/a school uniform

the/a school motto

"school refusal"

(Note: school book, schoolgirl, schoolboy, college student, school teacher, school bag etc. all belong to Type 1. These do not belong to the school or, are not part of the school. For examples of this kind, the word school or collegeindicates what kind ofthing.)

the class leader

the class roll

the class timetable

the college chapel

the campus grounds

the campus lawns

the campus gardens

the campus lake

a/the school governor



With these examples, the singular noun is used when the plural is meant. For example, "a student cafeteria" means, "a cafeteria of or for the students" or, "the students’cafeteria"

a/the student dormitory

a/the student cafeteria

a student representative

a student leader

a student diary

a student advisor

a student loan

the student body

the student union

the student council

(Note that "a student card" has the Type 1 stress pattern)


State, City, Town, Village, County etc.    

a country bumkin

a county fair

a state university

a state visit (state = of the national government)

a state occasion (state = of the national government)

a/the state premier  (In Australia. "state" similar to "province")

the state line (In U.S.. "state" similar to "province")

the city centre

the town centre

a/the town hall

a town meeting

a neighborhood committee

city hall

the city airport

the city garbage dump

the city government

the city council

a city councillor

the city fathers

City Hall (U.S.)

the town council

the town clerk

the town water supply

a town planner

the village idiot

the village market


Home, Places at Home

my home address

a home entertainment center

a home movie

a home run (in baseball)

a home truth

a home unit (Australian) = a flat

home brew

on home ground

a home cinema

a home loan

one's home town = hometown

home cooking

home economics

home help

home improvement(s)

the bathroom door

the bedroom floor

the bedroom window

the garden path

a/the garden shed

the kitchen sink

the kitchen sink

the patio doors

a/the kitchen garden



a family heirloom

a family holiday

a family member

a family pet

a family reunion

a family tradition

family planning

family ties

a/the family doctor

a family tree

family values

a family allowance

a/the family doctor



world music

a world war

world peace

a world language

a world power

a world tour 

the world champion

The World Cup

The World Bank

The World Service (of the B.B.C.)

The World Health organization


Company, Office, Factory, etc.

a/the company car

an office party

a company report

company law ( = law for all companies)

a company picnic

company profits

the company car park

the company manager

the company president

the company secretary

the factory foreman

the office Christmas party

the office furniture

the office manager

the office secretary

the shop floor

the factory floor

a trade secret



  a market economy

  a market leader

  market capitalization

  market forces

  market research


Other Places/Things in Society

a back-seat driver  and a back seat driver

a hospital waiting room

a hotel lobby

a junkyard dog

a park bench

a stable door

a park ranger

the ground floor

the stage door

the stage manager

the station platform (在火车站)

the tail end

a/the corner shop

a/the studio audience

a device manager  (also: a device manager)



a/the car headlight

a/the car windscreen

a/the car door


Country (= countryside)

a country park (= park in the countryside)

a country house

a country cousin

a country bumpkin

a country dance

a country house

country music

a country seat (related to British upper class)



Places in Nature

a desert highway

a desert sandstorm

a mid-air collision

a mountain village

an ocean current

an ocean voyage

the desert heat

the desert sand(s)

the desert wind(s)

the forest animals

the forest canopy

the forest floor

the forest wildlife

the ocean bed

the ocean floor

the/a sea breeze

the sea air


Groups and Organizations: Government, Party, Club, Association etc.

a government official

the Party Chairman

a government department

a government health warning

a government minister

a government official

a government regulation

a government office

the State Council

the Party () Chairman

the Party leader

the Party manifesto

the Party platform

the party faithful

club (association/federation/league/branch etc)

the club president

the club secretary

the club treasurer



("class" = "social class")

class distinctions

class warfare = class war

class differences

class divisions

class identity

class struggle

(See also the different usage of ‘class’ listed with ‘school’)


Other Groups in Society

the infant mortality rate (= the mortality rate of infants.)

a trade union  (a union of the members of a trade)

sibling rivalry

group therapy



a future husband  (The Oxford Dictionary classifies "future" as both a noun and an adjective.)

a future job

a future life

future development

future events

future prospects



‘animal’ = ‘for animals’,  ‘of animals’ or ‘characteristic of animals

animal desires

animal instincts

animal magnetism

animal husbandry

animal rights



the/a life history  (= "the/a life history of someone" = "the/a history of someone's life") = a life story

life imprisonment

a life partner

a child benefit  (= a government benefit for children)

a life member

a life sentence

the life sciences


From or of a Particular Place

a Cheshire cat (Originally, a cat from Cheshire, in a story.)

a London taxicab


The second noun is an activity of (or for, or from) the first noun

   family planning

   landscape gardening

   information processing

   data processing  (Also Type 1)

   property managment

adult education

market research

market capitalization

white-water rafting

ballroom dancing

home schooling

home shopping

animal husbandry

class struggle

life imprisonment

future development

town planning

internet banking

panic buying

   insider trading

   ground control



Other Examples

(the) Penguin Classics  (= the classics books published by the Penguin publishing company = the classics of Penguin = Penguin's classics)

a blood relation

a body warmer

a cell wall

a cup final

a desktop video

a folk hero (= a hero of the folk = a hero of the people)

a harvest festival (Also Type 1)

a killer instinct

a living wage  (= a wage for the activity of living)

a mother tongue (= the language of one's mother)

a pork belly

an adventure playground

computer science (the science of computers)

face value

match point (Also Type 1)

surface tension (from physics and chemistry)

the information superhighway

the/a weekend Another example of this British pronunciation is weekend. This word is an exception to the normal rules. That is, the Type 4 stress pattern normally applies to two words that are not joined when written. Since the two words, "week" and "end" are joined when written, it should follow the Type 1 stress pattern. However, it does follow the Type 1 stress pattern in American English: weekend and weekend.

a situation comedy ( = sitcom. "Situation" is here a short form of the adjective, "situational".)

the master bedroom = the bedroom of the master of the house. Alternatively, the meaning might be, "master" (noun) represents the adjective, "main".

a block booking

a pocket handkerchief (old fashioned)



When most of these compound nouns are spoken, most people stress the second word. But there does some to be some variation of which word is stressed, especially the example of, "brand loyalty".

Except for "customer loyalty", all of the examples below refer to loyalty towards (not from) the first word, e.g., "family loyalty" = loyalty towards one's family.

group loyalty

family loyalty

party loyalty (political party)

company loyalty

team loyalty

brand loyalty (the stress in this recording is not strongly on either "brand" or "loyalty" but is slightly more on the word, "loyalty")

brand loyalty (the stress in this recording is strongly on "brand" i.e., Type 1 stress pattern.)

customer loyalty (= the loyalty of customers)



For some of these, "household" = "of the household" or "of people's homes". For others, "household" = "common".

a household name (household = "common")

a household word (household = "common")

a household product

a household appliance

household goods

household bills

the household income

household waste

household rubbish

a household chore









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