“One-of-a-kind” or “One of a kind”? (Hyphenation Rules & Best Practice)

Hyphenation rules in English aren’t difficult to learn when you give them a chance, but they may cause some confusion at first. Let’s look at whether we should use one-of-a-kind or one of a kind in sentences and learn about the simple question. Is one-of-a-kind hyphenated?

One-Of-A-Kind Or One Of A Kind – Hyphenated Or Not?

One-of-a-kind should be hyphenated when using it to modify a noun or object in a sentence. It becomes an adjective in this form. One of a kind should be unhyphenated when it is not modifying a noun and instead becomes its own phrase noun. You’ll often find “one of a kind” at the end of a clause, as no nouns or objects come after it.

Examples Of When To Use “One-Of-A-Kind”

We’ve established the basics of the one-of-a-kind hyphen rule, so it’s time to look through some examples. We’ll start with the hyphenated variation, where we are using it as an adjective. In each of these examples, you’ll notice that we’re modifying a noun or object in a sentence. It’s also worth noting that “one-of-a-kind” is the most popular spelling of the word and is slowly phasing out “one of a kind” completely.

  • This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
  • You are truly a one-of-a-kind kid.
  • This is a one-of-a-kind wedding.
  • I am a one-of-a-kind talent.
  • He is a one-of-a-kind man.

Examples Of When To Use “One Of A Kind”

We leave “one of a kind” unhyphenated when we don’t use it to modify any nouns or objects in the sentence. It’s thrown in at the end of a clause to demonstrate this. However, as we mentioned above, the phrase “one of a kind” isn’t popular. Most people use the hyphenated variation no matter if they’re using the adjective or noun form of the phrase. For this article, though, we’ll continue to follow the recommended AP style rules.

  • You truly are one of a kind.
  • This building is one of a kind.
  • My mom is one of a kind.
  • We are one of a kind.
  • That dog is one of a kind.

Is One-Of-A-Kind Hyphenated AP Style?

If we briefly look at the AP style rules for hyphens, we’ll see that they are considered “joiners” for closely linked words. We’ll use hyphens to create one adjective out of multiple words that add meaning for the reader. These hyphenated adjectives are then used as modifiers in a sentence. However, if no nouns or objects follow the words, they are left unhyphenated.

Should I Capitalize “Of A Kind” In The Word “One-Of-A-Kind”?

Hyphenation rules are one thing, but adding capitalization rules into the mix creates a whole new host of problems. What happens when we want to write “one-of-a-kind” in a title? There are three main ways to capitalize a title, and each one of these gives us a different answer, so we’ll cover them all. The first style capitalizes the first word and proper nouns only. In this case, none of the words in the hyphenated form are capitalized.

The second way is to capitalize all words except for articles, short conjunctions, and short prepositions. In this case, you’ll only capitalize “one” and leave “of-a-kind” uncapitalized. The final way is to capitalize all words in a title, meaning that all the words in the hyphenated form will be capitalized, too, even though they technically count as one word.

Alternatives To “One-Of-A-Kind”

To avoid the hyphenation problem altogether and not have to worry about whether it’s one of a kind or one-of-a-kind, we recommend one of these alternatives. They are single words, so they never have to be hyphenated and mean the same thing.

  • unique
  • distinctive
  • unequaled
  • rare
  • unparalleled

Quiz – One-Of-A-Kind Or One Of A Kind?

The issue of one-of-a-kind vs one of a kind is out of the way, so it’s time to run you through a quiz to see what you’ve learned! We’ll include the answers at the end as well.

  1. You are (A. one-of-a-kind / B. one of a kind).
  2. This is a (A. one-of-a-kind / B. one of a kind) offer.
  3. You won’t find a venue that’s this (A. one-of-a-kind / B. one of a kind).
  4. I’d like to have a (A. one-of-a-kind / B. one of a kind) celebration.
  5. We are all (A. one-of-a-kind / B. one of a kind).

Quiz Answers

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