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Hyphens in Compound Words

Is it "coffee-house," "coffee house," or "coffeehouse"?

By
Mignon Fogarty,
January 10, 2012

Hyphens in Compound Words

While looking up how to write "coffeehouse," I encountered a common problem: different dictionaries handle compound words differently and formatting can change over time.

It appears that it used to be hyphenated ("coffee-house"), but now it's most commonly written as a closed compound ("coffeehouse"). At least one dictionary entry also shows the open compound ("coffee house") as an acceptable alternative.

I decided to go with "coffeehouse." If you're not sure whether a word is an open compound, closed compound, or hyphenated compound, the only thing you can do is pick a dictionary and go with its recommendation.

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