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'King-size' or 'King-sized'?

Size or sized? Find out which one you should use. 

By
Mignon Fogarty,

size_sized

Last week in the sponsor message, you heard me talk about a “king-size” mattress from Casper, and that reminded me that a listener named Louie had asked me whether he should write about small and mid-size businesses or small and mid-sized businesses.

The short answer is that the better choice is size, not sized—king-size and mid-sizealthough some dictionaries list king-sized and mid-sized as alternatives.

Should You Hyphenate ‘King-Size and “Mid-Size’?

As is often the case with hyphens, the answer isn’t as clear—king-size usually appears hyphenated, but mid-size is routinely seen with and without a hyphen, and some dictionaries show it hyphenated and others don’t. Hyphenate king-size, and just decide which way you like to write mid-size, put it in your style guide, and be consistent.

Advertising Helped Establish Words Such as ‘King-Size and ‘Mid-Size

Mad Men fans will likely be as surprised and intrigued as I was to discover that, although the Oxford English Dictionary has one example of king-size from the early 1800s, it looks as if the term really only took hold once it appeared in Regent cigarette ads in the early 1940s. King-size Regent cigarettes fixed the term king-size in our modern vocabulary. Mattress makers expanded the regal universe to include queen-size in the late 1950s. Ads for mid-size cars may have also helped establish that term in American English, although mid-size did occasionally appear earlier in other contexts.

Bedroom interior. Provance. 3d render image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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