Getting focused on close up vs. close-up

Often when editing manuscripts, I find writers have mixed up “close up” and “close-up.” Let’s quick take a magnifying glass to these two words and examine when each should be used.

If you want to say that the space or distance between two objects or places has decreased, you’re looking for “close up.” In this case, the word is a verb, as in “Our faster rockets will close up the time needed to travel from the Earth to Mars.”

If you want to say that something is at close range, you’re looking for “close-up.” Such a word is a noun, adjective or an adverb in your sentence. To wit, “The movie director called for a close-up of the star’s face” (noun) or “Let’s get a close-up view of those ants with that magnifying glass” (adjective).