“Good Looking” or “Good-Looking”? Learn if “Good Looking” Is Hyphenated

Marcus Froland

Do you ever wonder if ‘good looking’ should be hyphenated? You’re not alone – it’s a common question.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of hyphenating ‘good looking,’ explain when it should be used and provide examples.

We’ll also answer some commonly asked questions about the topic.

By the end, you’ll have a thorough understanding of when and why to use a hyphen with ‘good looking.’

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Good looking’ has been used since the mid-19th century.
  • It is originally written as two words.
  • It became common to use a hyphen in some contexts, which emphasizes the meaning of the phrase.
  • ‘Good looking’ can be written either as ‘good looking’ or ‘good-looking’.

The History of Hyphenating ‘Good Looking’

You’ve probably wondered why ‘good looking’ is sometimes hyphenated – let’s take a look at its history!

The phrase ‘good looking’ has been used since the mid-19th century and was actually originally written as two words. In more recent times, it’s become common to use a hyphen between the two words in some contexts. This is usually done when referring to physical attractiveness or when describing something that is aesthetically pleasing.

The use of a hyphen helps emphasize the meaning of the phrase and can also help with clarity, especially in writing. Generally speaking, it’s accepted to write either ‘good looking’ or ‘good-looking’, depending on your preference and context.

Rules for Hyphenating Adjectives

You’ll want to remember the rules for hyphenating adjectives when writing. Here are three main points to consider:

  1. Two-word adjectives are typically hyphenated, such as good-looking or well-known.

  2. Hyphens are used to join two words that act as one adjective, such as hard-working or self-destructive.

  3. Adjectives formed with numbers and letters should be hyphenated, like non-verbal or un-American.

Always check a dictionary for proper spelling and punctuation of any word you use in your writing. Using correct grammar will help ensure that your readers understand your work clearly.

When to Hyphenate ‘Good Looking’

When hyphenating the adjective ‘good-looking’, be sure to check a dictionary for proper spelling and punctuation. That way, you can ensure that your writing is both accurate and effective.

In general, when you’re using "good looking" as an adjective, it should be written as two words without a hyphen. If it stands alone as an adverb (for example, "She looks good looking"), then it may be acceptable to use a hyphen between the two words. But if in doubt, double check with a reputable dictionary or style guide.

Additionally, consider the context in which you are writing since different style guides may have different rules regarding this issue. Ultimately, following correct grammar and punctuation conventions will make your writing look professional and polished.

Examples of ‘Good Looking’ Being Hyphenated

You’ve probably seen ‘good-looking’ hyphenated in various places, such as magazines or television shows. Here are three examples of how it has been used:

  1. A magazine article described a celebrity as having a “good-looking physique” when discussing their recent workout routine.

  2. A sitcom script included the line: “He’s a good-looking guy, but he just doesn’t have any luck with women.”

  3. An advertisement for cologne stated that its wearer will be considered “irresistibly good-looking” by others.

These examples demonstrate the use of a hyphen between ‘good’ and ‘looking.’ It is typically used to describe someone who is attractive in an aesthetically pleasing way. This usage can also apply to objects or other non-human entities if they are deemed visually appealing by society’s standards.

Commonly Asked Questions About ‘Good Looking’ and Hyphens

Do you have any questions about when to use hyphens with ‘good-looking’? If so, you’re not alone. Many people wonder if this phrase should be written with a hyphen or without one.

Generally speaking, the phrase is most commonly written as two separate words: ‘good looking’. However, there may be certain circumstances in which it’s appropriate to use a hyphen.

For instance, when ‘good looking’ is used as an adjective before a noun, such as in the example ‘a good-looking car’, then it may be necessary to use a hyphen for clarity and correctness. In addition, some style guides may suggest using a hyphen in order to ensure consistency throughout your writing.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider both context and conventions when deciding whether or not to include a hyphen.


You now know when to hyphenate ‘good looking’. Generally, when it is used before a noun, it should be hyphenated.

However, if the phrase follows a linking verb like ‘to be’ or ‘seem’, you don’t need to use a hyphen.

When in doubt, look up usage examples and see how other writers are using the phrase.

Remember, consistency is key! If you decide to use the hyphenated version of ‘good-looking’, make sure you use it throughout your writing.