What is the proper way to spell this word? This in the context of writing a curriculum for children distinguishing living vs non-living things. Is it non-living or nonliving?

  • Possible duplicate english.stackexchange.com/questions/26837/…
    – ScotM
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 3:51
  • Use non-living only where the negation takes the focus.
    – Kris
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 6:48
  • Perhaps worth adding, though, that in general "non" is hyphenated: non-smoking, non-stop, non-Newtonian fluid. Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 10:55
  • @DavidGarner Yes, but on the question linked above, there are also examples given without hyphentation: nonnegative, nonmagnetic, nonferrous
    – cheenbabes
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 16:27

1 Answer 1


While both are widely used, dictionaries seem to lean towards nonliving.

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Also found this link, which may be of use for your curriculum (PBS).

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