Office Vocabulary - Compound Noun Stress


Stress in compound nouns and vocabulary for describing offices

Office Vocabulary - Compound Noun Stress

Describe your office or your desk to your partner. What things are the same as your partner’s office or desk, and what things are different? 

Listen to the expressions below and find the two expressions with different stress patterns to the others. How are they different grammatically?

answering machine                                                  notice board

air conditioner                                             address book

notebook                                                                    drinks machine

main entrance                                             desk lamp

central heating


Now pronounce these noun-plus-noun expressions.

a conference room                                                   car park

security man                                                             coffee pot

photocopier                                                               bookcase



Predict stress patterns for these, and put them in the correct column.

double glazing                                            fitted carpets

skylight                                                         executive toys

cordless mouse                                          mouse pad



O o













Listen to your teacher and check.


What does your office/ building most need to have added to it?

What would your perfect office/ office building be like?


Notes for teachers

Generally, compound nouns which are made up of noun + noun are stressed on the first word or on both equally, while those made up of adjective + noun are stressed on the second word.

Spare office vocabulary compound nouns for extra practice and to prompt the discussion stages

  • book shelves
  • colour posters
  • colour printer
  • computer desk
  • fax machine
  • filing cabinet
  • flip chart
  • framed photo
  • notepad
  • overhead projector
  • paper clips
  • personal organiser
  • pocket calculator
  • reception desk
  • screensaver
  • security desk
  • waiting area
  • wall calendar
  • wall chart

Terms of Use

Lesson plans & worksheets can be used by teachers without any fee in the classroom; however, please ensure you keep all copyright information and references to in place.

You will need Adobe Reader to view these files.

Get Adobe Reader