What is the correct way to say you care and actively do your part for the environment: “Environmentally Friendly” or “Environment Friendly”? This sounds like a tricky choice, so let’s take a closer look to try and find out what’s the correct way to say it.
In fact, the correct form to use is “Environmentally Friendly”. It means to do your part (be friendly) in relation to all things related to the environment (i.e., environmentally). The form “Environment Friendly” lacks that specificity, and consequently isn’t the most accurate form.
Take a look at the examples below:
- Is this fertilizer environmentally friendly?
- Is this fertilizer environment friendly? (incorrect)
- Anna’s been very vocal about how we all should be more environmentally friendly.
- Anna’s been very vocal about how we all should be more environment friendly. (incorrect)
Both sets of sentences contain the same content, but with one using the expression “Environmentally Friendly” and the other, “Environment Friendly”.
It’s obviously not a huge difference, but if you try and read those sentences out loud, you’ll notice that the versions with “Environmental Friendly” seem to lack something.
To be “Environmentally Friendly” means to act in a responsible manner in regards to all things related to the environment. In other words, it indicates someone is being environmentally responsible, by doing their fair share to make things better.
That’s the correct way to use “Environmentally Friendly” in a sentence:
- All of our products are environmentally friendly.
- The company I work for is environmentally friendly.
- Marcus assured me that the products he used to clean were environmentally friendly.
- Joanie told Hannah that she shouldn’t use pesticides, because they aren’t environmentally friendly.
- There is no way that Kyle’s shopping habits are environmentally friendly.
Another good example is that we don’t call people who fight for the environment “environmentists”. They’re called “environmentalists”, because their job is to help us tackle all sorts of “environmental” challenges.
Likewise, whoever is trying to be a good citizen and help the environment is “Environmentally Friendly”.
“Environment Friendly” is an incorrect form that should be avoided. The word “environment”, out of context, can mean all sorts of environments, and not necessarily the environment this expression intends to indicate.
“Environmental”, on the other hand, deepens this meaning, making it clear about which environment we’re talking about. Consequently, “Environmentally Friendly” would be the correct wording for the environmental cause.
Let’s see examples that use “Environment Friendly” (to understand how it’s wrong), followed by grammatically correct examples:
- The company pledges that they are 100% environment friendly. (incorrect)
- The company pledges that they are 100% environmentally friendly.
- Putting chemicals down your drain like that isn’t environment friendly. (incorrect)
- Putting chemicals down your drain like that isn’t environmentally friendly.
- The farming industry in most countries isn’t environmentally friendly. (incorrect)
- The farming industry in most countries isn’t environmentally friendly.
Because those two expressions are so similar, it’s quite unlikely that anyone would give you a hard time if, instead of “Environmentally Friendly”, you said “Environment Friendly”.
But now that you know the difference, you can try to incorporate the correct one to your vocabulary to get it right every time in the future.
We know now that the correct expression is “Environmentally Correct”. Still, we’re curious to see which one of the forms is used more often. So, let’s take a peek at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
The graph contains two very interesting points. First, is that both expressions, “Environmentally Friendly” and “Environment Friendly” started to be used around 1985, when talks about the need to take care of the planet started.
Before, they were basically not used at all.
Second, “Environmentally Friendly” appears immensely more than “Environment Friendly”. We believe the reason for it is the simple fact that the first is the correct one, while the latter is incorrect.
“Environmentally Friendly” (without the hyphen) is the correct form. The rule is that in phrasal adjectives that begin with an adverb ending in -ly (which is what we have here) the hyphen should be omitted. Therefore, “Environmentally-Friendly” is an incorrect form. You should continue to use “Environmentally Friendly”.
- The bottom line is we should all be more environmentally friendly.
- The bottom line is we should all be more environmentally-friendly. (incorrect)
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.