Award winning or Award-winning? (Helpful Examples)

“Award-winning” is often hyphenated, but it would help to know more about why that is the case. This article will look into whether we can write “award-winning” as one or two words and whether the hyphen is as important as it seems.

Award winning vs. Award-winning

“Award-winning” is a hyphenated adjective. It is grammatically correct to write it as a hyphenated word because we use both “award” and “winning” to modify the same noun in a sentence. You should not use “award winning” as separate words.

Award winning or Award-winning?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “award-winning” is by far the most popular choice of the two. This shows that it’s the only legitimate and correct choice that we should work with. There are no grammatical cases where it should be split in two.

Award winning or Award-winning - Statistics

In The Cambridge Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary, “award-winning” is clearly recognized as the correct spelling choice. We use it as an adjective, which is why it’s so important to include the hyphen. There are no cases where “award winning” is mentioned.

Sometimes, you might find that we can split hyphenated words when they are written in a noun form. However, since there is no recognizable noun form for “award-winning,” we do not typically write it without the hyphens present. It would be incorrect.

Award winning

“Award winning” is incorrect. You won’t be able to write it as two words because it needs the hyphen whenever it is written. Since it is only correct as an adjective, we cannot write it as a noun (which usually works without hyphenation).

Of course, there will always be some people who think the hyphens are wasted space. Some people believe that hyphenated words are too complicated to include in their writing, so they try to drop them for simplicity’s sake.

However, if you want to stay grammatically correct with what you write, you should make sure only to keep it as a hyphenated form.

Hopefully, these examples will help to clear things up:

  • Correct: The award-winning publisher is going to come and do a book signing later in the day.
  • Incorrect: I am not an award winning artist yet. However, I’ll keep working until I am successful one day.
  • Correct: You have the capacity to become award-winning. However, until that happens, you’ll have to keep working hard.
  • Incorrect: I’m not the award winning sports personality that I thought I would be by now!

As you can see, there are no cases where we should split the hyphen. It simply makes no sense and is not correct.


“Award-winning” should be hyphenated. It’s an adjective, which means we use it to modify another noun. Common English language rules teach us that all multiple-word adjectives should be combined with a hyphen to help us understand what it means.

According to the AP Stylebook guidelines, you should always hyphenate more than one word if they work to modify the same noun. Even if those words have different meanings, once they are combined with a hyphen, they fuse into one adjective.

Maybe it’ll be clearer if you can see what we mean from these examples:

  1. This award-winning motion picture was by far my favorite of the lot!
  2. It was an award-winning effort, which is why it blew so many people away.
  3. I have written many award-winning books, which is why I’m always so happy to produce more.
  4. You should try and get involved in the award-winning cast. I think it’ll really help to elevate your career.

In each example, we made it clear how the nouns interact with the adjective form. In each one, we placed a noun like “motion picture” or “books” after “award-winning” to show how clear it is when you modify whatever noun you choose.

Is “Winning” Capitalized In The Word “Award-Winning”?

You do not need to capitalize the second word in “award-winning.” It is not a proper noun, so it does not need to be capitalized when you use it. However, you might find it helpful to capitalize if you have chosen to keep all other words capitalized.

Typically, your title style choice will dictate whether you need to capitalize both words in the hyphenated adjective. If all other words are capitalized in your titles, you should capitalize both parts of “award-winning.”