“Good looking” or “Good-looking”? Learn if “Good looking” is hyphenated

Is good looking hyphenated will be the question we’re asking today. It’s good to learn about hyphenation rules, and when you learn one, you typically learn all the others. So, do we use good looking or good-looking?

Good Looking Or Good-Looking – Hyphenated Or Not?

When we discuss the good looking hyphen rule, we discover whether we use good-looking or good looking. You should use good-looking with the hyphen when you want to use it as an adjective to modify a noun or object in the sentence. You should use good looking without the hyphen when using it as a noun at the end of a clause or sentence.

Examples Of When To Use “Good Looking”

Let’s start by looking into using good looking without the hyphen first. It’s good to learn about the noun form of the word because many people just assume that “good looking” is always hyphenated. However, if we follow the AP stylebook rules, we learn that we shouldn’t always hyphenate it. In these cases, we’re using “good looking” as a noun without modifying anything else in the sentence.

  • He is really good looking.
  • My dog is good looking.
  • That girl is so good looking.
  • You are good looking.
  • My son is good looking.

As a side note, the English language has evolved. Even though it’s grammatically correct to say “good looking” without a hyphen, it’s now being phased out. Many people say “good-looking” no matter what.

Examples Of When To Use “Good-Looking”

Good looking vs good-looking sets up a nice debate for the hyphenated usage. Many people opt to use the hyphenated form as both an adjective and a noun. However, if we’re following English rules exactly, then using the hyphenated version should be reserved for modifying a noun or object in a sentence. Here are some examples to demonstrate that.

  • He is a good-looking man.
  • That’s a really good-looking cake.
  • I can’t get over that good-looking castle.
  • You’re a good-looking girl.
  • We’re a good-looking family.

Is Good Looking Hyphenated AP Style?

AP style teaches us that hyphens are “joiners” between two or more closely linked words. This means that when we add them between words, we turn them into an adjective to help the reader understand what they’re seeing. It helps them to see how nouns and objects or modified. The stylebook also says we leave words unhyphenated when we want to use them as a standalone phrase noun.

Should I Capitalize “Looking” In The Word “Good-Looking”?

What happens with capitalization in titles, then? When we write titles, there are three potential styles we can choose from. Everyone has a different style, and we’ll cover them all here. Based on which style you use, you’ll see how to capitalize the words in “good-looking.” The first style is where we capitalize only the first word and proper nouns. “Good-looking” is left lower-case in this style.

The second style is where we capitalize most words. We leave short prepositions, conjunctions, and articles lower-case, though. In this case, you’ll always capitalize “good” and never capitalize “looking.” The final style is where we capitalize every word in the title no matter what. That means both words in “good-looking” are treated as two separate words, and we capitalize them both to follow the style.

Alternatives To “Good Looking”

If you’re struggling with the hyphen rule still, don’t worry. We’ve got the perfect alternatives for you that don’t even have hyphens. You can use these if you want to convey your meaning still but don’t want to risk getting the hyphen rules wrong.

  • Handsome
  • Beautiful
  • Pretty
  • Gorgeous
  • Attractive

Quiz – Good Looking Or Good-Looking?

Let’s finish with a quiz to see what you’ve learned from this article. Even though “good-looking” is an acceptable word for both noun and adjective form, we want you to follow the rules in the AP stylebook with these answers. Pay attention to the sentence structure before answering, and check your answers at the end to see how you did.

  1. I’m a (A. good looking / B. good-looking) person.
  2. My mom says I’m (A. good looking / B. good-looking).
  3. That’s a (A. good looking / B. good-looking) croissant.
  4. You make a (A. good looking / B. good-looking) couple.
  5. The football team is so (A. good looking / B. good-looking).

Quiz Answers

  1. B
  2. A
  3. B
  4. B
  5. A