“In person” and “in-person” are both grammatically correct. It would help to know where the differences between these phrases lie. This article will explain whether “in-person” is hyphenated or kept as two separate words.
In person or In-person?
“In person” and “in-person” are both correct but cannot be used interchangeably. The first should be used as an adverb and the second as an adjective. An example sentence could be: “I will meet her in person, but we will be having an in-person meeting.”
Figuring out the question of is “in-person” hyphenated is simple enough. You can refer to English stylebooks to learn more about it.
According to the AP Style guide, you should group two or more adjectives when they modify the same noun.
The noun will come after the adjectives when hyphenated, meaning that you might come across a phrase like “in-person meeting.” Here, “meeting” is modified by both “in” and “person,” allowing you to create a compound adjective.
Common English dictionaries also offer explanations to help you out.
The Cambridge Dictionary represents British English speakers. “In person” is listed as both hyphenated and two words. “In person” is an idiom. “In-person” is an adjective.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary represents American English speakers. Here, only “in person” is listed as an idiom. However, hyphens still apply to The Chicago Manual of Style when grouping common words to modify the same noun. Therefore, “in-person” is also correct.
“In person” tends to be the more common way to write it. You’ll often see it more as a phrasal noun rather than a compound adjective.
“In person” means you are meeting someone face-to-face. When written like this, it does not need a hyphen, as it is not used to modify any specific nouns.
Here are some examples to show you how to write “in person” in a sentence:
- I will meet with you in person. For now, we should stick to our own sides of this argument.
- We can do all of this in person. I don’t see a reason for us to continue talking this way.
- Join us in person when we next host this event. It’s going to be much easier for us to sort things out.
- Please, attend in person to find out more about this. We’ll have all the answers then.
“In-person” is grammatically correct but only applies in specific circumstances.
You may include a hyphen when “in” and “person” modify the same noun in a sentence. This is common according to stylebooks such as The AP Styleguide, as “in-person” becomes a compound adjective to modify a noun.
You may find the noun comes before or after the phrase:
- After: An in-person event.
- Before: The event was in-person.
Both are correct, but it’s much more common for the noun to come after the hyphenated word.
These examples will demonstrate how to use “in-person” in a sentence:
- The in-person meeting is going to be much more useful. I don’t like doing all these video calls.
- It’s an in-person interview, and we expect you to be there. There can be no excuses this time.
- The in-person event will be held on Friday. Do you have any reasons for not being able to come?
- It’s an in-person gathering. I expect you to come along because I invited you months ago!
What to Remember
The simple thing to remember is that “in person” is a phrasal noun and “in-person” is an adjective.
“In person” does not modify any other nouns, whereas “in-person” modifies a noun that comes directly after it or somewhere before it in a sentence.
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.