I was writing a document in Microsoft Word and I used the word "well-being". Word told me to correct it to "wellbeing". When I do, Word tells me to correct it back to "well-being". Which is correct? I am stuck in an infinite loop of incorrect grammar.

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    Well-being is more common: books.google.com/ngrams/… – user66974 Nov 27 '14 at 21:50
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    Why do you think it matters? And why would you trust what Word tells you? – curiousdannii Nov 28 '14 at 0:30

Many word combinations go a progress from open (separate words) through hyphenated (one finds to-day in older texts) to closed (written as a single word, like nevertheless). Ngram shows the hyphenated spelling still five times as popular as the closed one among authors and editors of books as of 2008.


No, you are stuck in an infinite loop of Microsoft Word - and an infinite loop of correct English (it is not about grammar). Both are correct, which is another way of saying that each enjoys widespread use.

(Turn off your Word spelling helper, to get out of the loop.)


Both Merriam Webster (American), and Oxford (British) say it should be hyphenated.

Isn't that a question for a dictionary?


The preference is not consistent in British English even if Oxford has made its choice... That is to say, "wellbeing" can be found in correct British texts and dictionaries, apart from "well-being".

  • What is Oxford's choice? – OldBunny2800 Feb 29 '16 at 21:19

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