複合字是一種語文的化學反應(Chemical reaction in language),也是語言上的經濟手法(linguistic economy device)。其轉換過程是先將子句(clause)變為片語(Phrase),再把片語變為字(Word)-即是複合字。其中的關係代名詞(Relative Pronoun)和介係詞(preposition),皆可刪除。且舉例說明:
例一:The girl who has big eyes is my student.
The girl with big eyes is my student.
The big-eyed girl is my student. (大眼睛的女孩是我的學生)
例二:That man who is conscious of image is here.
That man conscious of image is here.
That image-conscious man is here. (那位重形象的人在此)

A V-ing as pivot-element type:
A-1 (N-V-ing)
The boy who hits the book is a straight-A student.
The book-hitting boy is a straight-A student. (這位K書的學生是優等生)
The man who abides by the law is a good citizen
=The law-abiding man is a good citizen. (奉公守法的人是好國民)
peace-loving people(愛好和平的人士) fact-finding group(視察團)
注意:1. 本類型中的動詞一定是主動語態(active voice)
2. 凡慣用語中由動詞與名詞組成的,皆可變成形容詞複合字。
如: pass the buck--buck-passing(推諉責任的)
lose face--face-losing(丟臉的)
tighten one’s belt--belt-tightening(節省的)
twist one’s arm--arm-twisting(強迫的)
mend one’s fences--fence-mending(改善關係)
spill the beans--bean-spilling(洩漏秘密)
name names--name-naming(指名帶姓指認出)
call one names--name-calling(中傷)
例外:.take pains—painstaking(費時費力)
A-2 (self-V-ing)
The clock which winds itself looks beautiful.
The self-winding clock looks beautiful. (自動上發條的鐘看起來很美觀)
The student who supports himself works at a fast-food restaurant.
The self-supporting student works at a fast-food restaurant.
本類型中的反身代名詞(Reflexive Pronoun),一律改成self-
A-3 (Adj-V-ing)
The pill which tastes bitter is a panacea.
The bitter-tasting pill is a panacea. (這苦味的藥丸是一種萬靈丹)
The man who looks handsome is a movie star.
The handsome-looking man is a movie star. (這位長的很帥的人是電影明星)
本類型中的動詞,僅限於連綴動詞(Linking Verbs:be, become, grow等)和感官動詞(Sense Verbs:look, sound, taste, smell, feel等)
A-4 (Adv-V-ing)
(a)The adverbs with-ly:
The bus which moves slowly broke down on the road.
The slowly-moving bus broke down on the road. (走得很慢的公車拋錨在路中)
The company which expands rapidly went bust/broke/under.
The rapidly-expanding company went bust/broke/under. (擴張迅速的公司倒閉了)
(b)The adverbs such as hard, far, well, ill, fast, etc:
The man who works hard can go a long way.
The hard-working man can go a long way. (認真工作的人一定會成功)
The custom which reaches far is a good one.
The far-reaching custom is a good one. (影響深遠的習俗是好習俗)
(c)The adverbs of frequency:always, usually often, sometimes, seldom and never.
The population which always increases is amazing.
The ever-increasing population is amazing. (不斷增加的人口相當驚人的)
The rule which often changes makes people confused.
The oft-changing rule makes people confused. (常常改變的規矩令人無法適從)。

A- 5(P-V-ing)(P指介係詞(preposition))
The call which comes in is from John Doe.
The in-coming call is from John Doe. (打進來的電話是張三打來的)
The call which goes out is from Richard Roe.
The out-going call is from Richard Roe. (打出去的電話是李四打的)
in-coming ship(進港的船) out-going ship(出港的船)
in-coming Premier(即將上任的行政院長)
out-going Premier(即將卸任的行政院長)
B. V-pp as pivot-element Type:
The dress which is made by a tailor costs much more expensive.
The tailor-made dress costs much more expensive. (訂做的衣服較為昂貴)
The wine which is made at home tastes wonderful.
The home-made wine tastes wonderful. (國產的酒味道不錯)
本類型中動詞,一定是被動語態(Passive Voice)。出現率相當頻繁。
The scholar who was educated by himself passed away yesterday:
The self-educated scholar passed away yesterday.
The man who was made by himself started his business on a shoestring.
The self-made man started his business on a shoestring.
本類型中的反身代名詞(Reflexive Pronoun),一律改成Self-字樣。
The food which is made ready is a steal.
The ready-made food is a steal. (現成的食物價格如檢來的便宜東西。)
The meat which is roasted fresh looks awful.
The fresh-roasted meat looks awful. (現烤的肉看起來很噁心。)
1. The adverbs with the ending-ly.
The plan which was developed recently started with a bang.
The recently-developed plan started with a bang.
2. The adverbs such hard、far、well、ill、fast、etc.
The area which is hit hard has been declared a disaster zone.
The hard-hit area has been declared a disaster zone.(受損嚴重的地區被視為災區。)
3. The adverbs of frequency:always、usually、sometimes、seldom and never.
The law which is always criticized must make some adjustment.
The ever-criticized law must make some adjustment.

B-5(V-pp-P) (P.係指介系詞Preposition)。
The worker who was laid off staged a sit-in.
The laid-off worker staged a sit-in. (被裁員的工人開始靜坐抗議。)
The plan which is well thought out works wonders.
The well-thought-out plan works wonders.

C-Adj as pivot-element Type:
The adjectives such as :-conscious、-foolish、-free、-greedy、-happy、-high、-hungry、-long、-mad、-proof、-prone、-proud、-sich、-rich、-short、-thirsty、-weary、-wide、-wise、-worthy、etc.
The candidate who is conscious of image was defeated in the election.
=The image-conscious candidate was defeated in the election.
The lawmaker who is greedy for power is looked down upon by the people.
=The power-greedy lawmaker is looked down upon by the people.
The country which is rich in oil has a cradle-to-grave social welfare system.
=The oil-rich country has a cradle-to-grave social welfare system.
The sword is as sharp as razor = The razor-sharp sword.
dirt-cheap(賤如糞土的) feather-light(輕如羽毛的) fire-hot(火熱的)
ice-cold(冰冷的) brand-new(全新的) paper-thin(薄如紙,極微的)
pitch-dark(漆黑的) rock-hard(硬如石的) sky-high(高入雲霄的,極高的)
The girl who is conscious of herself seldom goes to the party.
=The self-conscious girl seldom goes to the party.
The threat which is always present makes people ill at ease.
=The ever-present threat makes people ill at ease.(一直存在的威脅令人不安。)
The student who is often absent was eventually kicked out of school.
=The oft-absent was eventually kicked out of school.
D-P as pivot-element Type:
behind-the-scenes meeting(幕後的或秘密的會議)
a university is on the air.=An on-the-air university(空中大學)
The patient who has a nurse around the clock.
=The patience has a round-the-clock nurse service.(那位病人24小時有護士照顧。)
We will welcome our guests with open arms.
=We will give our guests a with-open-arms welcome.

on-the-run suspect(逃亡中的嫌犯) still-at-large murder(消遙法外的兇手)
on-the-spot inspection(現場的視察) across-the-board pay hike(全盤性的加薪)
under-the-counter sale(秘密的交易)
over-the-counter medicine(公開出售的藥,既成藥)
E. Preposition Compounds : 以(Noun + Preposition + Noun)為構成複合字的主要成份,其中的介系詞以to. by. for 和in為主。
E-1 (N - to - N):
(a) (N - to - N): (Same):
face-to-face meeting (面對面的會議) shoulder-to-shoulder fight (並肩作戰)
heart-to-heart talk (衷誠的談話) eye-to-eye agreement (完全的同意)
neck-to-neck contest (不分上下的比賽)
(b) (N - to - N): (from N to N):
cover-to-cover reading (逐字逐頁的閱讀)
house-to-house sale (挨家挨戶的推銷)
coast-to-coast tour (全國性的旅遊)
(c) (N - to - N): (from A to B):
dusk-to-dawn curfew (傍晚至天亮的戒嚴) rags-to-riches man (白手起家的人)
hand-to-mouth life (僅足餬口的生活) cradle-to-grave plan (一生的計劃)
nine-to-five man (朝九晚五的人)
E-2 (N - by - N):
step-by-step teaching (按部就班的教學) case-by-case basic (個別的方式)
side-by-side fight (並肩作戰)
E-3 (N - for - N):
word-for-word translation (逐字的翻譯) eye-for-eye revenge (以眼還眼的報復)
tooth-for-tooth bloodshed (以牙還牙的流血) tit-for-tat lashing (一報還一報的鞭打)
E-4 (N - of- ( the ) -N):
state-of-the-art hi-tech (頂棒的尖端科技) top-of-the-line weapon (精良的武器)
wind-of-change politician (巨變中的政治人物) run-of-the-mill affair (平凡的事物)
E-5 (N - in- ( the ) -N):
head-in-the-sand thinking (不切實際的想法) hole-in-the-wall store (簡陋的小店)
flash-in-the-pan success (短暫的成長) pie-in-the-sky vision (虛幻的遠景)

F. Conjunction Compounds :
F-1 (N - Conj - N):
(a) (N - and - N):
carrot-and-stick policy (軟硬兼施的政策) salt-and-pepper issue (黑白的問題)
nickel-and-dime store (小本的生意) five-and-ten store (同上)
mom-and-pop store (同上) boom-and-bust cycle (繁榮與不景氣的交替)
(b) (N - or - N):
rain-or-shine picnic (風雨無阻的郊遊) neck-or-nothing election (決定性的選舉)
all-or-nothing election (決定性的選舉) feast-or-famine business (時好時壞的生意)
F-2 (V - Conj - V):
(a) (V - and - V):
wait-and-see attitude (觀望的態度) touch-and-go situation (一觸即發的局面)
open-and-shut case (簡單的案件) give-and-take compromise (互相讓步的妥協)
hum-and-haw answer (吞白吐吐的回答)
(b) (V - or - V):
make-or-break election (決定性的選舉) make-or-mar election (決定性的選舉)
put-up-or-shut-up warning (提出更好的意見否則閉嘴的警告)
shape-up-or-ship-out warning (整頓否則解散的警告)
F-3 (Adj - Conj - Adj):
(a) (Adj - and - Adj):
thick-and-thin friend (同甘共苦的朋友) null-and-void treaty (完全無效的條約)
high-and-dry help (孤苦無助) rough-and-ready method (權宜的方法)
(b) (Adj - or - Adj):
more-or-less loss (或多或少的損失) now-or-never chance (千載難逢的機會)
(c) (Adj - but - Adj):
slow-but-sure progress (穩定的進步)
separate-but-equal education (隔離但平等的教育)
F-4 (V-ing - Conj – V-ing):
flipflopping-and-zigzagging policy (優柔寡斷的政策)
huffing-and-puffing warning (怒沖沖的警告)
toing-and-froing distance (來回的路程)
wheeling-and-dealing manager (精明能幹的經理)
F-5 (V-pp - Conj – V-pp):
cut-and-dried meeting (預先定好的會議) buried-and-forgotten man (被遺忘的人)
G. Idiosycratic Compounds:
G-1 Quotation compounds:
no-news-is-good-news attitude (無消息即好消息的態度)
catch-as-you-catch speech (臨時應付的演說)
pay-as-you-go system (預扣所得稅制度)

G-2 Adj - N-ed – Compounds
(a) 身體任何部位(肉體上的或是精神上的):
long-faced girl (拉長臉的女孩) quick-witted diplomat (機警的外交官)
cold-blooded murder (殘酷的謀殺) tip-lipped official (守口如瓶的官員)
(b) 房屋的任何部分:
high-ceiling house (天花板高的屋子) green-roofed building (綠頂的大樓)
glass-walled atrium (玻璃牆的中庭) gold-domed building (金圓頂的大樓)
(c) 顏色、大小尺寸、口味等等:
black-colored dress (黑色的衣服) medium-sized car (中型的車子)
sour-flavored fruit (酸味的水果)
G-3 Odds-and-ends compounds:
would-be hero (自充的英雄) also-ran candidate (落選的候選人)
has-been writer (江郎才盡的作家) odds-on candidate (很可能當選的候選人)
can-do confidence (幹勁十足的信心)


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