High quality or High-quality? (Helpful Examples)

“High quality” has two correct forms you need to understand. It is a compound noun that sometimes comes hyphenated and sometimes comes as two words. This article will explain everything you need to know to get both forms correct.

High quality or High-quality?

“High quality” is the compound adjective form when the noun comes before the adjective. For example, you might write, “I need this to be high quality” (“this” is the noun). “High-quality” is correct when the noun comes directly after the adjective. For example, “high-quality medication.”

High quality or High-quality

The rules are fairly simple when you know where the noun is in your writing:

  • I need this work to be high quality. Otherwise, I won’t be able to accept it.
  • It’s not a high-quality piece, but I’m trying my best. Just let me keep working on it.

As you can see, the noun placement dictates whether the hyphen is required.

You should keep the hyphen out of “high quality” in UK and US English when the noun falls anywhere in the sentence besides directly after the two words. This shows that “high” and “quality” modify each other, which then modify the noun to mean it is the “highest quality” of itself.

You should include the hyphen when the noun comes straight after “high-quality.” This shows that both words modify the same noun form, making it easier for the reader to understand what meaning to apply to the noun.

Is “High quality” Two Words?

“High quality” is common as two words. It’s grammatically correct and works as a compound adjective to modify an earlier noun in the sentence.

You should write it like this when modifying a noun that comes before it. This shows that “high quality” is changing the meaning of the noun that came first. It’s very common for “high quality” to appear at the end of a clause or sentence in this form.

  • I need the care here to be high quality. Otherwise, I will be taking my business elsewhere.
  • My healthcare isn’t high quality anymore. I need to fix that.

There is no reason to include a hyphen here. “High quality” does not fall before the noun, so the hyphen does not need to group the two adjectives into one.

Is “High-quality” Hyphenated?

“High-quality” should be hyphenated when it comes directly before a noun. This is common in style guides such as The AP Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style.

According to AP Style, you should always group multiple words when they modify the same noun that comes straight after it. For example, “high-quality work.” Here, “work” comes directly after the two words, so a hyphen is required.

  • I’m going to need a high-quality performance from you lot. Can you manage that?
  • It’s a high-quality product. I’m glad I invested so much money into it.

If a noun comes straight after “high-quality,” you should always hyphenate it. This shows that the two words (“high” and “quality”) modify the same noun. Without the hyphen, “high” modifies “quality,” which modifies the noun, and things get a little more confusing.

Hyphen rules are common for compound adjectives based on the position of a noun. If the noun comes first, the hyphen is not present. If it comes after the compound adjective, the hyphen is included.

  • I’m going to need high-quality care for my grandmother. Will you provide that?

What to Remember

“High-quality” and “high quality” are both correct.

You should hyphenate “high-quality” when it comes directly before a noun. For example, “high-quality work” is correct as “work” comes straight after the two words.

You should avoid the hyphen in “high quality” when the noun comes anywhere else in the sentence. For example, “the work is high quality,” where “work” comes earlier than the compound adjective.