by Barbara McNichol
Request One-Two List at Editor@BarbaraMcNichol.com
As I was finalizing a manuscript I edited for a nonfiction author, I hired a proofreader to give it a final check. (I knew I’d read it too many times myself.) What she found humbled me. I thought I had a good handle on which phrases are customarily two words versus one (backyard—not back yard—comes to mind) but several surprised me.
My proofreader corrected these (verified on dictionary.com). Look familiar?
- rooflines (not roof lines)
- safe-deposit box (not safe deposit box)
- old-timers (not old timers)
- carsick (not car sick)
- safekeeping (not safe keeping)
- autopilot (not auto pilot)
- pocketknife (not pocket-knife)
So I’ve put together a cheat sheet I call my One-Two List to answer the question: Should it be one word or two? Instead of guessing, it’s easy to refer to this list I’ve compiled.
What words would you add to this list? Share them here.