A compound word is a single word that is formed by combining two other words. The words gangplank, tabletop, and bedpost are all examples of compound words in English.
How do writers know when to use compounds instead of separate words? There are no clear cut set of rules for forming compounds in English. Skilled writers must depend upon their understanding of usage patterns and an extensive vocabulary.
So how should you decide, for instance, whether to use bedpost or bed post? Admittedly, for this example, the stakes are fairly low. Still, as a careful writer, you should always strive to use language clearly and correctly to avoid distracting your readers.
Continue reading to learn more about these words.
What is the Difference Between Bedpost and Bed Post?
In this article, I will explore the bedpost vs. bed post conundrum. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context. I will also reveal a mnemonic device that will help you choose between bedpost and bed post in your own writing.
When to Use Bedpost
What does bedpost mean? A bedpost is a structural element of a bedframe. Most all beds that have bedposts will have four bedposts, but not all beds have bedposts.
Here are some examples,
- The kids were being too rambunctious, and bumped their heads on a bedpost.
- “I didn’t want to be just another notch in his bedpost,” said Marissa.
- When choosing new furniture for the bedroom, Krista looked for a frame with intricately turned bedposts.
When to Use Bed Post
What does bed post mean? Bed post means the same thing. It is not used anywhere near as often as the single-word bedpost.
Here is a chart that shows the relative usage of these variants,
This graph isn’t exhaustive in its reach, since it only looks at sources English books since 1800. Still, it clearly shows a strong preference for bedpost among English writers.
The two versions were much closer in usage until around 1830, when bedpost took a sharp lead, which it retains to this day.
Trick to Remember the Difference
Now, let’s go over a trick to remember bed post vs. bedpost.
Neither of these versions is technically wrong, but bedpost is much more common in both American and British English. The Merriam-Webster, Oxford, and Cambridge dictionaries all list bedpost as the standard form, as well. To play it safe, you should probably stick to bedpost. There’s no reason to do otherwise.
Since bedpost and mattress are both single words with two syllables, and both are related to beds, you can use this similarity as a reminder that bedpost is the standard variant of this word.
Is it bedpost or bed post? Bedpost and bed post are two variants of the same noun, which refers to a structural element of some bedframes.
- Bedpost is the standard variant in several dictionaries.
- Bedpost also enjoys a wide advantage in overall usage among English writers.
- Bed post should be avoided in favor of the single-word
Bedpost and mattress are both two-syllable single words that relate to beds, so you can use this commonality to establish bedpost as correct in your mind.
Remember, any time you have questions about writing techniques or confusing words, you can use this site as a resource to boost your knowledge. And if you ever get stuck choosing bed post or bedpost, you can refresh yourself with this article.