Browse Definitions :

Old-fashion or old-fashioned?

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
We’re planning an ___________ Christmas this year. We’ll be dining by candlelight — and banning iPhones at the table .
a. old-fashion
b. old-fashioned

Answer: b.

Explanation:
To fashion is to make; fashioned means made. Old-fashioned means made in the old way.

And without the hyphen? Neither! Never! Not “old fashion,” not “old fashioned.” When we combine two words to use as an adjective, we hyphenate.

Google poll, searching for verbatim:
old-fashion — 43,600,000 hits
old fashion — 865,000,000 hits
old-fashioned — 320,000,000 hits
old fashioned — 381,000,000 hits

Oh dear, oh dear. The worst possible spelling is by far the most popular. I was impressed to see, among the search results, that a lot of people actually have it wrong — especially as “old fashion” — in their business names. A word of advice — if you’re ever starting a business, make sure that you don’t name it something that makes you look less intelligent than you’d like. Check your grammar!

And in case anyone’s wondering, the same rule would hold for “old-style” and “old-school.”

Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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