which is more correct or more frequently used? Nonionic or non-ionic (polymers)? It´s for an academic presentation.

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    Have you checked your style guide? (It's very relevant since some style guides specify how certain expressions should be written or which dictionary you should use to help spell words.) – Laurel Jul 24 '18 at 23:01
  • Similar: Can there be a hyphen in “nonlinear”? – herisson Jul 25 '18 at 4:09
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    Even if the answer isn't in a journal style guide (seems unlikely @Laurel). just download pdf articles from the journal you wish to publish in and search them for nonionic and non-ionic. Either go with the majority or if there is a split, make your own choice, perhaps on your respect for the authors. – David Jul 25 '18 at 4:33
  • Possible duplicate of Can there be a hyphen in "nonlinear"? – JMP Jul 25 '18 at 6:39

It would appear that nonionic is more common than non-ionic according to Google's ngrams:

Google ngram for nonionic and non-ionic

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    Interesting, and you answered the question in a way, but as a practicing and publishing scientist I would always write non-ionic (e.g. detergent) in a biological science journal. So the advice in the comment — to check the usage in your field — would seem to be more pertintent. Google ngram checks books, not scientific journals. – David Jul 25 '18 at 4:30

Merriam-Webster spells it in the closed-form nonionic.

On the other hand, Oxford spells it in the hyphenated form non-ionic, while also providing the closed-form nonionic as being US English.

So, if you go by the dictionaries (or by a style guide that says to use a regional dictionary), use nonionic for a US audience and non-ionic for a UK audience.

Having said that, although the British corpus on Google Books Ngram Viewer shows that non-ionic is slightly more common in print in general, between 1989 and 1998 (for some reason), nonionic was actually used more often.

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  • As a scientist I would give no credence to the 89-98 results. You'd need to look at examples to find out what is causeing the obvious anomaly. – David Jul 25 '18 at 4:35

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