If you’re wondering whether to write high school or highschool, you’re not alone. Many people spell this word incorrectly.
So which spelling is correct?
The correct spelling is high school, with a space separating these two words. Highschool isn’t a real word; it’s just a misspelling of high school.
This article will explain the difference between highschool and high school and help you use this word correctly in your writing.
Is It Highschool or High School?
You should always include a space in the phrase high school. For example, you would write, “I am a high school student” or, “I’m attending high school.”
The word highschool without a space is a spelling error.
High school is an open compound word, which means its two component words should be separated by a space. Other open compound words include living room and real estate.
There are two other kinds of compound words: closed and hyphenated.
A closed compound word is one with no spaces or hyphens, such as keyboard and bookstore. Because high school is not a closed compound word, it’s incorrect to spell it highschool.
A hyphenated compound word is one with hyphens between the component words, such as mother-in-law and fifty-three.
Because high school is not a hyphenated compound word, it’s (almost always) incorrect to spell it high-school. We’ll look at exceptions to that rule in the next section.
In general, as long as you remember that high school is an open compound word, you’ll be able to spell it correctly.
Sometimes, you might see high-school written with a hyphen. There are also times when you need to capitalize High School. Let’s take a closer look at each of these possibilities.
Is High School Hyphenated?
High school is an open compound word, which means you shouldn’t use a hyphen between the two words. This is always true when high school is a noun.
Occasionally, you might see the hyphenated word high-school used as an adjective, such as in the sentence, “Geometry is a high-school math class.” Some English style guides accept this alternative spelling, but it’s less commonly accepted than high school with a space.
If you’re not sure which version to use or which style guide to reference, it’s always safer to omit the hyphen and just use a space.
Is High School Supposed to Be Capitalized?
You should only capitalize high school if you’re using it as a proper noun.
In other words, you need to capitalize it when you’re referring to the name of a specific high school, rather than using the word as a general term.
You shouldn’t capitalize high school in the sentence, “I’m a senior in high school” because you’re not referring to a specific school.
In contrast, you need to capitalize high school in the sentence, “I’m a senior at Lakeside High School,” because the word is part of a proper noun. Similarly, you would write, “Let’s watch High School Musical” because high school is part of the name of a movie.
Highschool Examples in Sentences
The best way to remember how to spell a word is to see it in practice. Let’s look at some examples of the compound word high school in sentences.
“Most people felt lost after high school. Sometimes I felt like I’d never really been found in the first place.”—Lish McBride, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer
“The fact was, by the time she got to high school, being weird and proud of it was an asset. Suddenly cool, Blue could’ve happily had any number of friends.”—Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys
“I’d had nearly four years of experience looking at these clocks, but their sluggishness never ceased to surprise. If I am ever told that I have one day to live, I will head straight to the hallowed halls of Winter Park High School, where a day has been known to last a thousand years.”—John Green, Paper Towns
“I’ve been guaranteed admission with a full scholarship to New Rome University, but they’re still requiring me to pass all my high school courses and score well on the SAT. Can you believe that?”—Rick Riordan, The Hidden Oracle
“Without willing it, I had gone from being ignorant of being ignorant to being aware of being aware. And the worst part of my awareness was that I didn’t know what I was aware of. I knew I knew very little, but I was certain that the things I had yet to learn wouldn’t be taught to me at George Washington High School.”—Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete.”—Mindy Kaling, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
“Sometimes I think high school is one long hazy activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they’ll let you become an adult.” —Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak
“High school was just a prologue to the real novel. Everybody got to write you—but when you graduated, you got to write yourself.”—Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
How to Remember the Difference Between Highschool or High School
One trick for remembering that high school has a space in it is by remembering that all levels of school are open compound words.
For example, we use spaces in the phrases elementary school, middle school, secondary school, and primary school. It makes sense for high school to fall into the same pattern.
Another trick for remembering the correct spelling of high school is by remembering that most high schools have abbreviations that include the initials HS, not just H.
For example, students at Lakeside High School might refer to themselves as LHS, while students at Portland High School might call their school PHS.
If you’re not sure you’re spelling high school correctly, you can always run your work through ProWritingAid, which will help you solve the error in one click.