“Real World” or “Real-World”? Learn if “Real World” Is Hyphenated

Marcus Froland

Are you wondering if ‘real world’ should be hyphenated? You’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll discuss the definition of ‘real world’, grammar rules for hyphenating it, examples of its usage, common mistakes to avoid, and resources for further learning.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to use ‘real world’ correctly.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • ‘Real-world’ should be hyphenated when used as an adjective or adverb.
  • ‘Real world’ and ‘real-world’ are both acceptable when used as a noun.
  • Accurate hyphenation ensures proper usage in writing.
  • Mixing up ‘real world’ and ‘real-world’ should be avoided.

Definition of ‘Real World’

The phrase ‘real world’ refers to the everyday experiences of people. It is typically used to contrast with theoretical concepts, ideas, or events that are often discussed in academia.

In other words, when someone talks about the ‘real world’, they are referring to situations and circumstances which commonly occur in daily life, rather than those studied in an academic setting.

For example, a student may be familiar with economic theories but lack experience applying them to practical situations. To learn how these principles work in the ‘real world’, they must observe and interact with them first-hand.

Consequently, understanding the concept of ‘real world’ is important when attempting to bridge theory and practice.

Grammar Rules for Hyphenating ‘Real World’

You need to know the grammar rules for hyphenating ‘real world’ to accurately use it in your writing.

Generally, when used as an adjective or adverb, ‘real-world’ should be hyphenated.

When used as a noun, both ‘real world’ and ‘real-world’ are acceptable.

For example, when describing a situation that is relatable to real life, one might say: ‘This scenario is a real-world example.’

However, when referring to the actual physical world we inhabit, one could also say: ‘We live in the real world.’

To ensure accuracy when using this phrase in your writing, pay attention to whether you’re using it as an adjective or noun and adjust hyphenation accordingly.

Examples of ‘Real World’ Usage

Using ‘real-world’ examples is a great way to illustrate a concept. Here are some reasons why:

  • They help people connect abstract ideas to tangible items.
  • They provide easy-to-understand context for complex topics.
  • They make concepts accessible to those with no prior knowledge.
  • Examples from the real world allow people to relate personal experiences.

Including real-world examples allows experts and laypeople alike to better understand what’s being discussed, making the learning experience more meaningful and memorable.

Using these specific examples helps convey the message in an accurate, precise, and clear manner that is beneficial for all types of audiences.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s easy to make mistakes when using real-world examples, so it’s important to be aware of some common ones.

One such mistake is mixing up the two terms ‘real world’ and ‘real-world’. Although the two phrases mean the same thing, it is widely accepted that ‘real-world’ should be hyphenated when used as an adjective before a noun. For example, instead of writing “a real world example” one would write “a real-world example”.

Another mistake is confusing these two phrases with the phrase “the real world” which refers to actual life experiences outside of school or work.


You now know that ‘real world’ is not hyphenated and should be written as two words. When writing, make sure to double check your work to ensure accuracy and avoid common mistakes when using this phrase.

To learn more about grammar rules, you can consult a dictionary or other online resources. With the right knowledge, you’ll be well on your way to writing with precision and clarity.