Have you ever wondered whether “phone call” is one or two words? This article will explore all you need to know about correctly using “phone call” in your writing. It’s a lot simpler than you might realize.
Is It Phonecall or Phone call?
“Phone call” is always written as two words. This is because it is a call made by a phone. “Phone” modifies the word “call” here, so the two need to be separated. “Phonecall” is never correct as one word because it removes the modification that “phone” has.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “phone call” is the only valid option based on its usage. This shows that it’s the only one that makes grammatical sense. There is almost no situation where “phonecall” is used.
If you need further verification, you could refer to both The Oxford Dictionary and The Cambridge Dictionary. Both English dictionaries have entries for “phone call” as two words.
Neither dictionary notes that “phonecall” is correct as one word. Therefore, you should avoid using it.
Is “Phonecall” One Word?
“Phonecall” is grammatically incorrect, so it never appears in standard English. It is an error to remove the space between the words because it removes the modification that “phone” is supposed to have on the sentence.
Sometimes, spaces can be dropped in two similar words when they’re common knowledge and easily distinguishable. Unfortunately, this logistical rule does not apply to “phone call,” meaning that it is never correct to shorten it to one word.
The only words that really benefit from being one word over two tend to be compound adjectives or nouns. In these forms, hyphens are sometimes present, but those can be dropped in favor of the one-word variation.
These examples should explain all you need to know:
- Correct: I would like to make a phone call, but I don’t know who I’m supposed to be calling right now.
- Incorrect: I’m really sorry, but this is not an appropriate time to make a phonecall. Please, do it another time.
- Correct: I was supposed to receive a phone call, but it appears to have been forgotten about. Oh, well!
- Incorrect: That wasn’t a phonecall I was expecting to hear today. I’m going to need a few moments to myself.
Is “Phone call” Two Words?
You should always write “phone call” as two words. It is grammatically correct in this case because it uses “phone” to modify “call.” It’s also the shortened form of “telephone call.” “Telephonecall” is never put forward as a one-word option, so the same should be said for “phone call.”
Most of the time, you can refer to AP Style rules to figure out whether you should write something as one or two words. However, most of the rules associated with this in AP Style relate to using hyphens and dropping them in certain styles.
You will not find a suitable reason to remove the space in “phone call” in the AP Stylebook. That’s why you will never be able to use “phonecall” in your writing.
There is no reason to include a one-word variation when the two-word option already does the trick. “Phonecall” does not make things simpler. If anything, it leads to more confusion that people have to figure out.
Here are a few examples to help you out:
- I wanted to make a phone call, but they told me I wasn’t allowed to. I left as soon as I heard that.
- I’m not going to make a phone call anymore. I have already changed my mind about that.
- What’s the point in making a phone call when nobody is going to answer me, though?
- She took a phone call when she wasn’t supposed to. Now everybody is up in arms about it.
Tip to Remember Which to Use
It’s always useful to remember that “phone call” is two words rather than one. Perhaps a quick tip will help you to keep your memory of it fresh.
A phone call is always between two parties. It is also always written as two words. As long as you remember that it’s between two parties, you can remember that it’s made of two words.
You should only ever write “phone call” as two words. There is never a reason to group it and make it “phonecall.” Every native speaker will look at the one-word variation and wonder why you decided to spell it in such a strange way. Stick to the familiar “phone call.”