Referring to something that means a step-by-step tutorial, which is the correct word / term ?



walk through

I'm under the impression that the dash version "walk-through" is correct as that seems to be the most commonly used. Most spell checks flag "walkthrough" as not a word, so I'm pretty sure that's out. Most grammar checks to not seem to flag the spaced version "walk through", however, so I'm not 100% sure.

Thoughts on this?

-- EDIT -- Not sure why somebody linked to a post about "well-being" vs "wellbeing" clearly not the same word(s) I'm asking about.

  • dictionary.com/browse/walk-through?s=t Only has walk-through.
    – KarlG
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 10:15
  • 1
    For what it’s worth, walkthrough is common in my programming and gaming circles. Walk-through seems to be preferred elsewhere—there’s a general trend for hyphenated terms to become single words over time, and this is a relatively new example. However, I would only use walk through if I meant it as a prepositional verb, as in “Let’s walk through some examples”.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 10:25
  • 1
    CED says that the solid and hyphenated forms of the noun are the acceptable ones. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 11:41
  • As John Purdy mentioned, "walk through" would be the correct way to write it when "walk" is used as a verb. See the similar question Why is the noun “brush-off” hyphenated when the verb “to brush off” is not?
    – herisson
    Commented Jan 25, 2018 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


I'm sure someone is going to Ngram this, but let's go with what you can find through Youtube: walkthrough is the most accepted version.

I'm often mystified by this particular threefold thing as well, because my native language has only one kind of compound word. English, however, has three.

Closed = walkthrough

Hyphenated = walk-through

Open form = walk through

In this case, walkthrough is the correct one. The why is a lot more complicated, and I for one am somewhat confused coming from a closed compound language. Even my spell check on this page is telling me that "walkthrough" is wrong, even if it is right in this sense.

The matter of the fact is that blue-green instead of bluegreen is correct, walkthrough is correct, non-caffeinated instead of uncaffeinated --

The general rule with compound words seems to be to a point arbitrary (which languages are as an excuse for not being universally the same); there is a certain agreement among certain house rules as to what is right and what isn't correct. Walkthrough seems to be the accepted compound rule amongst modern users.


Now, I'm no grammarian. But this manner of thing seems to be arbitrary in prose as well as academia.

Edit: walkthrough is correct due to it being the most used form. It doesn't make sense to me either, but it is purporting to be in essence a guide on how to walk through something. \

  • Hello, T.K. I won't add my downvote, but the arbitrariness of which spelling is acceptable demands that authoritative references (from an online dictionary, say) be given in acceptable answers. Here, though, OP should have done this research (and posted it) themself. Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 11:37
  • When or whether hyphen disappears depends more on whether a specialized use becomes generalized. "Passthrough," for instance, has lost a hyphen, mostly because of a general use as a window-like opening from the kitchen. If enough non-specialized speakers read walkthroughs, then the hyphen will eventually disappear. A walk-through in the theatrical sense wasn't able to make the jump.
    – KarlG
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 11:42
  • To Edwin Ashworth, I did do some research, as I mentioned in my original post, spell checks (which are effectively electronic dictionaries) do not seem to accept "walkthrough" as a word, this poster clearly found the same results. To T.K., I appreciate your constructive thoughts on the subject. However, as you also found, it seems that dictionaries / spell checks don't list or accept "walkthrough" as a word and until that widely changes I think I'll stick with "walk-through". One good thing on this subject is most search engines seem to be smart enough to treat these terms interchangeably.
    – cdahms
    Commented Jan 23, 2018 at 18:01

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.