Hardworking or Hard-Working?

In the vast and ever-evolving landscape of the English language, compound words often pose a conundrum, leaving writers pondering the correct usage. One such compound word that frequently stirs debate is “hardworking.” Should it be written as one word, as “hardworking,” or with a hyphen, as “hard-working”? Let’s delve into the intricacies of each form to shed light on their appropriate usage.

Understanding Hardworking: One Word

Hardworking written as a single word without any hyphen is a compound adjective formed by combining “hard” and “working.” In this form, the compound word serves to describe individuals who exhibit diligence, dedication, and perseverance in their endeavors.

Example 1: Sarah is a hardworking student who consistently achieves top grades.

In this sentence, hardworking describes Sarah’s admirable work ethic and commitment to her studies.

Example 2: The team’s success can be attributed to their hardworking attitude.

Here, hardworking highlights the team’s collective diligence and industriousness.

Exploring Hard-Working: Hyphenated Form

On the other hand, hard-working with a hyphen between “hard” and “working” also functions as a compound adjective, albeit with a slight difference in nuance. The hyphen serves to connect the two words, indicating that they work together to modify a noun.

Example 3: The company values hard-working employees who go the extra mile.

In this sentence, hard-working emphasizes the dedicated and industrious nature of the employees.

Example 4: John’s hard-working nature is evident in his consistent performance.

Here, the hyphenated form hard-working emphasizes John’s persistent effort and dedication.

Scenario Examples

Hardworking (One Word)

Hardworking employees often receive recognition and rewards for their dedication.

  • This usage highlights the admirable work ethic of employees who consistently put in effort.

The success of the project can be attributed to the team’s hardworking approach.

  • Here, hardworking emphasizes the team’s diligent and industrious efforts towards achieving success.

Hard-Working (Hyphenated Form)

The hard-working students were praised for their commitment to their studies.

  • This usage underscores the dedicated and persistent nature of the students’ efforts.

The organization thrives due to its culture of hiring hard-working individuals.

  • In this example, the hyphenated form emphasizes the importance of industriousness and dedication in the organization’s success.


In the ongoing debate between hardworking and hard-working, both forms serve to convey the notion of diligence and industriousness. Whether opting for the single-word form or the hyphenated version depends on stylistic preferences and the specific context of usage.

Regardless of the chosen form, what remains paramount is the recognition and appreciation of individuals who exemplify hardworking or hard-working qualities in their pursuits and endeavors.

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