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Commonly Mis-hyphenated Words

Following is a list of compounds (hyphened, single words or two separate words) that frequently cause disagreement. For questions of hyphenation not covered here, refer to the Webster's New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition (1999).

  • airtight
  • all right (never allright or alright)
  • awhile (as in wait awhile; but: It was quite a while before we saw him again)
  • backyard (n.), back-yard (adj.)
  • brand-new (avoid this compound except in quotations; new is sufficient)
  • break-out sessions
  • build up (v.), buildup (n.)
  • cameraman
  • campuswide
  • candlelight, candlestick, candlepower
  • cannot
  • carload
  • check in (v.), check-in (n.)
  • check out (v.), checkout (n.)
  • citywide
  • classmate, classroom
  • clean up (v.), cleanup (n.)
  • clear-cut (adj.)
  • close out (v.), closeout (n.)
  • cookout (n.), cook out (v.)
  • cooperate (but: co-op)
  • cosponsor
  • cost-effective (both preceding and following the noun; this is a cost-effective method; this method is cost-effective)
  • course work
  • cut off (v.), cutoff (n., adj.)
  • dark-eyed, dark-haired
  • deadline
  • dinner dance
  • divisionwide
  • easygoing
  • email
  • every day (adv.), everyday (adj.)
  • first-year (adj.), first year (n.)
  • fund raising, fund-raising (adj.), fund-raiser
  • giveaway (n.)
  • goodbye
  • goodnight (inter;.), good-night (adj., as in good-night kiss)
  • goodwill (n.), good-will (adj., as in good-will ambassador)
  • handmade
  • health care
  • high-priced
  • high-quality (adj.)
  • homemade
  • hometown (n.), home-town (adj.)
  • horsepower
  • inasmuch
  • infrared
  • insofar
  • insomuch
  • life cycle (n.), life-cycle (adj.), as in life-cycle costs
  • lifestyle (avoid this word except in quotations)
  • likewise
  • line up (v.), lineup (n.)
  • log in (v.), login (n.)
    Example: Log in to the website using your login and password.
  • log off (v.), logoff (n., rare)
  • log on (v.), logon (n.)
    Example: Log on to our website using your Case network ID and password.
  • long term (n.), long-term (adj.)
  • maintenance man
  • make up (v.), makeup (n.)
  • managed care
  • man-hour
  • man-made
  • manpower
  • microorganism
  • multidisciplinary
  • multimedia
  • multimillion-dollar (adj.)
  • nationwide
  • nearby
  • nonetheless
  • nonstop
  • off campus, off-campus (adj.)
  • offshore
  • oilmen
  • old-timer
  • one-sided
  • online
  • overall (adj.)
  • passerby
  • paycheck
  • payday
  • percent
  • pipeline
  • postcard
  • post office
  • postwar
  • presstime
  • ready-made
  • reelect
  • reestablish
  • refill
  • reuse
  • school board
  • schoolbook
  • schoolroom
  • second-year (adj.), second year (n.). Note: When referencing Second Year Institute, do not hyphenate. This is an official program name.
  • set up (v.), setup (n. and adj.)
  • shipyard
  • short term (n.), short-term (adj.)
  • shut off (v.), shutoff (n.)
  • sightseeing
  • sign in
  • sign out
  • sign up
  • springtime
  • start up (v.), start-up (n.)
  • statewide
  • tailor-made
  • teammate
  • teenage, teenager
  • trademark
  • university-wide (adj.)
  • up-to-date (adj. preceding noun)
  • upper-class (adj.), upper class (n.)
  • upperclassman, upperclassmen
  • website (Web)
  • weekend
  • well-being
  • well-known (adj., as in a well-known air pollution model. But: This air pollution model is well known)
  • worldwide (adj.)
  • World Wide Web
  • X-ray