adventure playground, adventure game


New Member
The Oxford dictionary shows that...
"adventure playground" (with the stress placed on the second word) means "an area where children can play, with large structures, ropes, etc. for climbing on", and "adventure game"(with the placement of the stress is on the first word) means "a type of computer game in which you play a part in an adventure".

I think that "adventure playground" would emphasize the area, "adventure playground" would emphasize the exciting or dangerous experience, "adventure game" would be just like "adventure playground" - emphasizing the journey and "adventure game" would shift the focus towards the game.
Then if my thought is right, in the above pairs, it's really up to us to choose a placement for the stress. So why do many well-known dictionaries keep telling learners which word of a compound noun should be stressed? Is it because native speakers normally tend to think about that implied meaning, even it's the attributive or the main noun?

I'm really looking forward to your help! <3
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    An adventure playground is a thing in itself (the description you quote is correct). We don't say "adventure playground" to distinguish it from any other type of playground, or any other type of adventure, for that matter, no more than we say "washing machine" to distinguish it from any other machine; it is simply a washing machine. We may, where the context is obvious, just say "playground" or "machine", but you would not shorten it in this way if you thought the other person might not know what you were referring to.

    With "adventure game" we usually only add "adventure" when we want to distinguish this from other types of game. Where we don't need this distinction, it is just a game.

    However, in terms of stress, there isn't any to speak of. Ordinary stress patterns produce adventure playground and adventure game, and I really cannot detect any difference between how "adventure" is stressed in the two terms in most uses.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Normally noun + noun compounds stress the first noun: dog biscuit, credit card, bus stop, adventure game, walking stick, etc. etc. So why is adventure playground stressed on the second noun? I think it might be because playground is itself a compound, so these keep the stress when you add another noun before them:

    restaurant wine list
    bedroom bookshelf
    bargain dog biscuit


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That sounds very plausible to me.

    It's just about impossible to say ADVENTURE playGROUND like it is to say ADVENTURE game.
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