Which one is correct:

Clive never worries. He's really easy-going.


Clive never worries. He's really easy going.

As per my understanding, hyphen comes between compound adjectives if they are before noun; so the correct one is second one. But as per BBC website correct one is first one with hyphen.


4 Answers 4


Use the hyphen or the solid form to mean 'relaxed': you are using an adjective, and many compound adjectives which include verbs tend to be at least hyphenated wherever there's even a possibility that the reader might parse the compound could be misread as two separate words (assuming the author is paying attention).

Going is also a noun which can refer to the quality of a journey, especially the rate of progress, and "easy going" could mean a straightforward and effortless journey.


I know what you mean here. Hyphens are essential to avoid ambiguity, especially without compound adjectives: for example a hyphen is the difference between a man eating squid and a man-eating squid. Therefore, I would suggest that Clive is easy going without the hyphen as there is no confusion there.

  • Except what the OP is really saying is: "He's a really easy-going guy". He's just rephrased the sentence.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:36

ODO lists easygoing, a single word with no hyphen, in the US English dictionary. Google Ngrams shows that this usage has been more common since the 70's.

In the British and World English dictionary, they have easy-going, with a hyphen. Google Ngrams concurs, although the usage in general has dropped significantly in the past few decades, and it's getting closer to easygoing.

In both Ngram searches, easy going as two words is far less common.


You could use either so long as they make sense; whether or not you choose to hyphenate this compound adjective does not matter.

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