Came across this article today:

New York shooting: Gunfire at Irving Plaza leaves one person dead

which had the following sentence:

No-one has been arrested and the motive for the shooting is unclear.


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I've never seen no one hyphenated like this before. I even had to read it twice just to get it.

Why hyphenate no one: no-one?

  • I think you have to ask the editor of the article. It is a typo. But will "no-one" cause any confusion?
    – user140086
    May 26, 2016 at 6:31
  • The article said rapper TI was supposed to perform, so when I got to "no-one" I, wrongly, assumed it was another rapper!
    – Mou某
    May 26, 2016 at 6:37
  • No-one blinded Polyphemus!
    – DyingIsFun
    May 26, 2016 at 10:37
  • The standard progression for this type of thing is first two words, then hyphenated, then one word. See Ngram. While the one-word no one is a problem because noone looks like noon and noöne has an almost-obsolete diaeresis, the hyphenated no-one is perfectly fine, and could easily be standard in the late 21st century. May 26, 2016 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


It's not a typo, it's a deliberate decision to use a hyphen. "no-one" is sometimes used with a hyphen - some people believe that this avoids confusion with the other usage of "no one" meaning "no single", as in

"No one man should have this much power."

So, really it's a matter of preference. "no one" is more formally correct, but since there's a valid argument to use "no-one" when you mean "nobody" and "no one" when you mean "no single" (as detailed above), then I don't think you could say that "no-one" is definitely wrong. Language evolves and changes all the time, depending on people's needs.

  • Hi, Max. I generally agree with you. But wouldn't it better to write "Not one man / Not a single man / No man should have this much power"? I am curious. What is your thought?
    – user140086
    May 26, 2016 at 9:30
  • 2
    I'd say they're all options, and it's up to the writer which one they use. May 26, 2016 at 9:50
  • 1
    Agreed, @MaxWilliams. I prefer it with hyphen because it's pronounced [in terms of stress and tone] as if it's a single word. May 26, 2016 at 22:31
  • @DavidGarner good point, there's less of a gap between the words isn't there, with no-one versus "no one man", although that might be because people, when saying "no one man" are aware of the potential for confusion and so deliberately leave more of a gap to mitigate it. Dec 17, 2018 at 10:15
  • When I subbed for a well-known news agency, the style guide stipulated that we use a hyphen. It was to reduce ambiguity, as mentioned above. That proves nothing other than that the person who wrote the guide made that decision.
    – AJB
    Sep 30, 2022 at 10:30

"No-one" is incorrect. "No one" is two words. I wouldn't call it a typo, so much as an incorrect spelling.
Originally, it was one word, spelt "noöne", and many other English words, such as "coöperate" and "reälity" were also spelt with a diaeresis (an exclusively English diacritic, and not the same thing as the German umlaut) to indicate that both vowels were pronounced separately, rather than being a diphthong.
It's not often seen today, outside of "naïve" and "Noël", and the names "Zoë" and "Chloë", although it seems The New Yorker is making an move to bring it back.

  • 1
    The notion that the original form of any English word formed from two others is written with a diaresis is suspect, but the OED listing is no one, with the note The hyphenated form no-one seems to have been introduced in the mid 19th cent. and to have remained uncommon until the late 20th cent. It remains a minority variant. The BBC prefers it, which gives us the real answer: it is a matter of style, and the hyphen observes BBC style.
    – choster
    May 26, 2016 at 19:54
  • I would venture to say BBC is wrong…
    – Daeyoung
    Apr 28, 2022 at 3:55

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