Quick fix: Long-term vs. longterm vs. long term

Here’s a set of words that have been an ongoing problem among writers.

Long-term with a hyphen, as in long-term disability, is the correct form.

The confusion probably comes from the fact that a similar adjective, longtime, is now widely accepted in dictionaries and stylebooks as hyphenless. That isn’t the case with long-term, though, at least in the short-term.

And, of course, long term as two words always is incorrect. A compound word used as an adjective, a hyphen is needed.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.