I know that there is a verb "to hand in" (see Merriam Webster). Is there a noun which means the action of "handing something in"? Is this also called the "hand in"? Does a sentence like "When is the hand in of your thesis?" make sense?

Or what other noun would you propose?

  • I know of a "hand(-)over" instead of a "hand in" (but this does not exclude the use of "hand in", of course). – Stephen Feb 4 '12 at 14:25
  • You can have a handout, but not a handin. Funny how that works. – Robusto Feb 4 '12 at 14:40
  • It could still be construed as an ellipsis with due: "When is the hand in of your thesis due?" That may be grammatical. – Kris Feb 4 '12 at 15:16
  • Depending on context, you might call such a submission a deliverable – Joseph Weissman Feb 4 '12 at 15:17
  • Handoff works too, although it's usually used in the sense of transferring something physical like a baton, a football, or a secret message. – Sean Duggan Feb 4 '12 at 19:30

You may use submission for the noun. For example,

When is the deadline for submission of the report?


'Hand-in' as an object (the thing handed in) or an event (as you use in your example) makes sense and is not at all unnatural but only very colloquially (you can pretty much form a verb put of any noun in English).

The specific sentence sounds like a (very natural) disfluency of planning the sentence ahead with certain parts of speech filled in the rest expected to be filled in. You're thinking 'thesis' and 'hand in' and time, and you imagine 'the X of the thesis' rather than 'X the thesis'. A rearrangement that is does not use 'hand in' as a noun might be:

When do you hand in your thesis?

When is your thesis going to be handed in?

You would probably only ever use 'hand in' in speech as a quick replacement for the more latinate 'submission', or a more accepted term like the noun for the more specific object being handed in. Using it in more formal written language would sound too colloquial (your newspaper or journal editor would throw you out for it.

  • And yet, hand-outs are not particularly rare. – tchrist Feb 4 '12 at 16:08
  • Particularly if your thesis is on the subject of English language & usage. – MetaEd Feb 4 '12 at 16:34
  • Good point tchrist we say 'handout/s' a lot and it has two meanings - when someone distributes a document (like a teacher gives out some instructions) but also some people (at least in Australia) use the word 'handouts' to refer to money given to people by the government where it considered that the money is undeserved. I would never use the word like that because of my own views but it is very common in both everyday conversation and the media. I would comment though that I have never actually heard 'hand in' used as a noun. I think even in a casual context it sounds strange. – Rachel Feb 4 '12 at 16:43

You would not say the "hand in". You could say the delivery.

  • Yes you can. It has become established usage. – smci Oct 12 '13 at 22:46
  • @smci Dictionaries document established usage. Can you cite a dictionary which backs this up? – MetaEd Oct 13 '13 at 12:53
  • Dictionaries are not the only things documenting usage, and in particular they are lagging indicators of usage - sometimes they lag by 1 year and sometimes by 40 years. There are 456K references to handin project (verb or noun), 416K references to handin report (verb or noun) – smci Oct 14 '13 at 13:50
  • Google Search's "results" counter is notoriously inaccurate. Use Google Book Search (or the Ngram viewer); they're much more reliable. – MetaEd Oct 14 '13 at 14:01
  • 1
    Actually, Ngram viewer does support part-of-speech search; see the help. I am not claiming it will necessarily be what you want, but the feature does exist. – MetaEd Oct 14 '13 at 17:29

Handin frequently is used as a noun referring to electronically-submitted assignments. Among the first 50 links from google for "handin" are 25 references to electronic handin systems or actions; 16 proper names; 6 truncations of handing; and 3 uses as a foreign word or other.

At universities where handin systems are used, questions like "Where's your handin?" and "Did you handin?" may be heard. Example: Under the title "Please correct my work. (Handin in 2.5 Hours!!)" H. Vindenes wrote a proof-reading request which was answered seven hours later.

In short, there are communities where handin as a noun or verb is frequently heard and understood. But as others have noted, submit is more widely understood and more appropriate in formal text.

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