Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Jun 30 2009   8:02PM GMT

Which is correct — long standing or long-standing?



Posted by: Ivy Wigmore
Tags:
Animal Farm
Business writing
CIO
Google
hyphenation
long-standing or long standing
Quiz
Web bug
typing Which is correct?
According to some privacy experts, Google’s use of Web bugs violates the company’s __________ injunction against “being evil.”
a. long standing
b. long-standing

Answer: b

Explanation: The reason to hyphenate long-standing is the same as for a lot of other compound words — because if you don’t hyphenate, things can get confusing. For example, if you wrote about “a long standing board member,” one could assume it meant that the board member was tall and was not sitting down.

The Queen’s English Society offers more explanation and examples.

News flash! Site director Margaret Rouse just informed me that Google is no longer officially anti-evil. Why do I find myself reminded of Animal Farm, when the pigs edited The Seven Commandments to accomodate changes they wanted to make?

1  Comment on this Post

 
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  • LongPurple
    c. none (or neither) of the above I prefer "longstanding". Both hyphenated and singleword (or is it "single word", or "single-word") formats are found in various dictionaries. The convention in English is a progress over time from two words, to a hyphenated form, and finally a single word compounded from the two; as in "fire fly --- fire-fly --- firefly".
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