Lifesaving, Life saving, or Life-saving?

“Lifesaving” appears to come with two spelling variations. This article will look into all of the ones available to us and help you to understand whether it’s one or two words. The hyphenated form of “life-saving” could also be an option!

Life saving vs. Life-saving vs. Lifesaving

“Life-saving” and “lifesaving” are both correct. We can use the hyphenated form more often in British English because they like to stick to the original English rules. In American English, “lifesaving” is more common because the hyphen is dropped for simplicity.

Lifesaving, Life saving, or Life-saving?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “lifesaving” is more common in American English. However, “lifesaving” and “life-saving” are very close in popularity, showing that either form is acceptable.

Lifesaving, Life saving, or Life-saving - American English

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “life-saving” is much more common in British English. “Lifesaving” still sees use as well, but it’s not quite as close as the American English graph.

Lifesaving, Life saving, or Life-saving - British English

The Cambridge Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary both define “life-saving” as an adjective and a noun. However, they also both mention that “lifesaving” is another spelling that is perfectly acceptable.

We can also refer to The New York Times to check which is the most popular spelling variation in American English.

On their website, we can see that “life-saving” is mentioned 6,110 times while “lifesaving” is mentioned 5,900 times. These numbers are almost identical, showing that both forms are acceptable in American English.

We can do the same with The Daily Mail website to check how the results may vary in British English.

On their website, we can see that “lifesaving” is mentioned 30,000 times while “life-saving” is mentioned 23,400 times. Again, both numbers are very close, although this seems to show that the American spelling of “lifesaving” is more popular in British English too.

Is “Lifesaving” One Word?

“Lifesaving” is one word when writing in American English. It’s acceptable in British English, but it’s more common for the hyphen to be dropped in favor of simplicity when writing in the US. It still works as both an adjective and a noun in this form.

Here are some examples of it:

  1. We need the lifesaving equipment to make sure they’re okay.
  2. I have a few lifesaving tips that would work well for you on your travels.
  3. It was a lifesaving experience! I’ll never forget it.
  4. He’s got great skills in the field of lifesaving!

Is “Life saving” Two Words?

“Life saving” is never correct as two words. Unlike the other two forms, the two-word variation does not allow us to modify the sentence correctly. We would have to group them or add a hyphen when we want to show that a modification is happening.

These examples should clear things up:

  • Correct: The lifesaving doctors at this hospital will help you.
  • Incorrect: I need a life saving operation before I can return to work.
  • Correct: If you know where to find the life-saving drugs for him, you must tell us!
  • Incorrect: I have no life saving skills, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to help!

Is “Life-saving” Hyphenated?

“Life-saving” is most commonly hyphenated in British English. We can use it with the hyphens to show that the two works are linked. They are then used to modify a noun in the sentence, which wouldn’t make sense if the hyphen wasn’t included.

AP Style is what we use to learn more about hyphenation. In said style, we must use hyphens whenever more than one word is used to modify the same noun in a sentence.

Have a look at these examples to help you figure it out:

  1. If you haven’t got the life-saving equipment for him, what’s the point in you?
  2. I have no life-saving experience!
  3. You’re going to need plenty of lessons in life-saving before we leave you to do it on your own.
  4. Life-saving is the most important part of this job.

Is “Saving” Capitalized In The Word “Life-Saving”?

You do not need to capitalize either part of “life-saving.” After all, we do not write it as a proper noun. It’s a compound adjective or a mass noun, so capitalization is irrelevant.

Still, you might find it useful to capitalize both parts when you write it in a title. If every other word is capitalized, there’s no reason why you can’t write “Life-Saving.”