Recordkeeping, Record keeping, or Record-keeping?

“Recordkeeping” is one of those tricky words that has multiple forms. It can be hyphenated or one or two words. That’s why we thought it might be useful for you to check out this article. We’ll help you to understand what the three forms mean.

Record keeping vs. Record-keeping vs. Recordkeeping

“Record keeping” is the most popular choice of the three, meaning it’s correct in most cases when written as a noun. However, British English seems to value “record-keeping” as a hyphenated form, while American English seems to value “recordkeeping” as a one-word option.

Recordkeeping, Record keeping, or Record-keeping?

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “recordkeeping” is the most popular variation in American English. There isn’t much difference between the three forms, but “record-keeping” seems to be the least popular in this graph.

Recordkeeping, Record keeping, or Record-keeping - American English

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “record keeping” is the most popular choice in British English. “Record-keeping” is a close second, showing that the hyphenated form is correct. However, the combined “recordkeeping” is barely recognized in British English.

Recordkeeping, Record keeping, or Record-keeping - British English

In The Cambridge Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary, “record keeping” and “record-keeping” are both officially defined. The Cambridge Dictionary states that “record-keeping” is a variation of the two-word option.

There is no mention of the one-word “recordkeeping” in either dictionary.

To investigate which spelling is more popular in American English, we can look at which spelling The New York Times usually uses.

On their website, we can see that “record-keeping” is mentioned 4,710 times while “recordkeeping” is mentioned 462 times. This shows that “record-keeping” is still popular in American English, even though “recordkeeping” seemed to be the most popular on the graph.

However, if we look at The Daily Mail News site, the British English results are much clearer based on which is more popular.

On their website, we can see that “record-keeping” is mentioned 1,660 times while “recordkeeping” is only mentioned 44 times. This is much more in line with the graph above, showing that the hyphen is best in British English.

Is “Recordkeeping” One Word?

“Recordkeeping” works as one word, but only in American English. There are no correct instances in British English where it makes sense to use this spelling variation. American English users tend to drop hyphens to simplify the language rules, which is what is being done here.

Check these out to help you:

  1. Can you fix the recordkeeping, please?
  2. I need someone to be in charge of recordkeeping! I can’t keep up with this.
  3. Recordkeeping is very important to me! Please get it right.
  4. I’ll do the recordkeeping because I can trust that I’ll get it right.

Is “Record keeping” Two Words?

“Record keeping” is recognized as two words in both American and British English. It’s also clearly defined as a mass noun when written as two words. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with writing it in this form, though it seems more common in British English overall.

Check these out if you’re struggling:

  1. Who is in charge of the record keeping around here?
  2. I need to look into the record keeping. Something doesn’t seem right.
  3. The record keeping is the most important thing here.
  4. We should do the record keeping. Have you got the time?

Is “Record-keeping” Hyphenated?

“Record-keeping” is hyphenated, but mainly in British English. If we’re writing according to British English rules, it’s suitable to keep the hyphen because it allows us to show that “record” and “keeping” are being linked in a way that changes their meaning.

The AP Stylebook teaches us all we need to know about hyphenation. Generally, we are allowed to hyphenate multiple words when they’re used to modify the same noun or information in a sentence.

British English tends to lean more toward sticking to the AP Style rules for easier reading.

Here are a few examples to help you out:

  1. The record-keeping in this place is shambolic! We need to do something about it.
  2. I don’t like record-keeping, which is why I moved away from that place.
  3. I think the results are poor because of our poor record-keeping ability.
  4. Our record-keeping could do with a lot of work. Do you think you have the time to sort it out?

Is “Keeping” Capitalized In The Word “Record-Keeping”?

“Record-keeping” is not a proper noun. Therefore, there should be no need to capitalize either part of the hyphen. However, you might find it necessary to do so when you are writing it in a title.

If your title style means that every other word is capitalized, you will want to capitalize both “record” and “keeping” to make sure it matches.