Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jul 18 2012   2:10PM GMT

Old-fashion or old-fashioned?



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
common grammar errors
common misspellings
compound adjectives
hyphenation
word meanings
Which is correct?
We’re planning an ___________ Christmas this year. We’ll be dining by candlelight — and banning iPhones at the table .
a. old-fashion
b. old-fashioned

Answer: b.

Explanation:
To fashion is to make; fashioned means made. Old-fashioned means made in the old way.

And without the hyphen? Neither! Never! Not “old fashion,” not “old fashioned.” When we combine two words to use as an adjective, we hyphenate.

Google poll, searching for verbatim:
old-fashion — 43,600,000 hits
old fashion — 865,000,000 hits
old-fashioned — 320,000,000 hits
old fashioned — 381,000,000 hits

Oh dear, oh dear. The worst possible spelling is by far the most popular. I was impressed to see, among the search results, that a lot of people actually have it wrong — especially as “old fashion” — in their business names. A word of advice — if you’re ever starting a business, make sure that you don’t name it something that makes you look less intelligent than you’d like. Check your grammar!

And in case anyone’s wondering, the same rule would hold for “old-style” and “old-school.”

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

3  Comments on this Post

 
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  • weejus
    Disagree. were celebrating in the fashion of old, not the fashioned of old.
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  • weejus
    Just as it wouldn't be "old-styled hamburgers", or "learning the old-schooled way"
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  • weejus
    In this case, fashion doesn't mean "to make", but "in the style of". Example: high fashion doesn't mean it was made by a person of the upper class, but that it is the style in vogue for the upper class. The past-tense of style is "style", and, in this case, the past-tense of fashion is "fashion".
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