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Imitation Compounds

      There exist words which can be split apart into two or more separate words which don't actually satisfy the conditions necessary to be considered to be compound words. The list of such words isn't especially long, but there are at least a few dozen such words. Alternately referred to as fake, imitation, or counterfeit compound words, examples include carpet, office, solid, notice, and season. Although more humorous than profound, it is nonetheless useful that students recognize the difference between these imposters and the genuine thing. The key difference between real and fake compound words is that the constituent parts of compound words contribute to the overall meaning of the compound word, whereas this is not the case with the fake ones. Thus, in the case of applesauce, for example, both apple and sauce contribute to the meaning of applesauce, whereas in the case of carpet, neither car nor pet help us to understand the meaning of carpet. For a quick lesson on the difference between bona fide compound words and their fraudulent counterparts, click the following link:

Lesson on Imitation Compounds




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Lyrics:

Some things aren't exactly as at first they appear
They seem to belong, but to the rules they don't adhere
They're superficial qualities seem to qualify
Them to be included, but it's all just a lie

Imitation compounds
Into separate words they break
Imitation compounds
But it's all a mistake

Office, carpet, solid can be broken into parts
But you'll see the problem clearly if you've got enough smarts
The meaning of the smaller words does not provide
A basis for the meaning of the word they're inside


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