Is There a Space in the Term ‘High School’?

For those grappling with whether ‘high school’ is written as one word or two, the simple and straightforward answer is—it’s written as two separate words.

English Compound Words

The debate around whether ‘high school’ is a single entity or a space-separated duo emerges from the intriguing field of compound words in the English language. Compound words can be:

  • Open compounds where two words are separated by a space, like ‘living room’ or ‘real estate’
  • Hyphenated compounds with hyphens between the words, like ‘mother-in-law’ or ‘fifty-three’
  • Closed compounds written as a single word, like ‘keyboard’ or ‘bookstore’
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‘High School’: Open Compound Word

‘High school’ belongs to the category of open compound words. This means the two components are separated by a space. Hence, you should say, “I am a high school student” not “highschool”.

Writing ‘highschool’ as a single word is a common spelling error.

Exceptions with ‘High School’

There are times when ‘high-school’ is written with a hyphen, especially when it’s an adjective such as in “a high-school math class.” Although less commonly accepted, it’s not wrong. However, if you’re uncertain about the situation, it’s safer to omit the hyphen.

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Capitalizing ‘High School’

Take care to capitalize ‘High School’ when it’s used as a proper noun, indicating a specific name of a school rather than as a general term. For example, “Lakeside High School” requires capitalization.

Ensuring Correct Usage of ‘High School’

To get the spelling and usage of ‘high school’ correct, consider these tips:

  • Remember it’s an open compound word.
  • Memorize the correct abbreviation as ‘HS‘, not just ‘H’.
  • Proofread your work carefully.
  • Lastly, rely on reliable grammar checking tools.
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In conclusion, ‘high school’ remains two separate words, regardless of the evolution and flexibility of the English language. By sticking to the widely accepted two-word representation, we ensure clarity and correctness in our communication. Remember, ‘high school’ is the preferred way to write it. Avoid the single-word ‘highschool’, especially in formal writing. If still in doubt, follow the general rule – if it’s about an educational level higher than elementary or middle school, it’s overwhelmingly likely to be written as ‘high school’.

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