Don’t Call It a Come Back | A Lesson on Compound Words

So the other day, I found this old CD simply labeled, “Rap Mix.” Since then, I keep having this song pop into my head.

You’re probably asking yourself what on Earth this has to do with grammar. Today, I want to talk about compound words.

Like comeback.

Thanks to autocorrect, we might try to type something like, “Hey, can you come back?” and it will close the last two words.

I’m going to guess you aren’t texting someone about staging the ultimate comeback. You want them to return to where they were.

Medical Context

I do a bunch of medical editing, and we have a lot of compound words that come up. “Up” being the operative word there:

Follow-up

Workup

Checkup

All of those above are nouns. You could maybe use them as adjectives, too. (A follow-up visit)

But when used as verbs, they should not be put together.

I need to follow up with a client on their preferences.

The lab will work up your blood sample.

Some of you may feel the need to check up on the above information.

Compound Words: Verbs Are Rarely Closed

Do you like comic books? Or TV shows? Especially TV shows based on comics? Then you are probably familiar with the crossover.

Love them or hate them…

(Personally, they drive me nuts, but they are an effective marketing tool. I would never have gotten hooked on The Flash without them. And I gotta say I’ll probably binge-watch Batwoman when it comes out on Netflix—loved her character in the Elseworlds crossover event.)

The word “crossover” is another compound word. And when you are discussing the action, you don’t close it up.

They keep having the Arrowverse shows cross over. (verb)

These crossover events are getting a bit too much. (adjective)

Crossovers are a pretty genius commercial invention. (noun)

So Much More

Stay tuned for my next post on compounds, where I’ll get into some of the other compounds you see throughout this post.

Have questions on compounds? Drop them below!

Even better, do you have a grammar question inspired by a song? I’d love to help you out there, too.

Here’s another tune from this awesome rap mix CD I found in my collection.

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