One word


(Higher Education Funding Council for England)

higher education/HE

  • higher education lower case, but HE in capitals


  • lower case unless part of a specific degree title


See also Dashes and our Quick reference guide for key words.

  • Use a hyphen where words are paired together as adjectives, eg four-year course, full-time students, world-leading research, practice-based teaching, computer-related work.
  • But if the same two-word adjective is given in the predicative position (see below), it should be two separate words: eg, ;our research is world leading and the work is computer related.
  • Hyphens are also used where there is an awkward collision of vowels or consonants, eg take-off, part-time, co-operate. Exceptions include override, overrule, skiing
  • Use a hyphen to signal an abstract rather than literal meaning, eg cross-question, bull’s-eye.
  • Don’t use hyphens after adverbs ending in ‘ly’, eg an internationally recognised course, scientifically rigorous research.
  • Use hyphens in points of the compass, eg south-east, north-west, but there are exceptions, as in southeasterly.

Common hyphenated words

  • part-time
  • four-year
  • CD-ROM
  • A-levels
  • pro Vice-Chancellor
  • Vice-Chancellor

Words that are not hyphenated

  • postgraduate
  • healthcare
  • email
  • online
  • word processing
  • website
  • wifi


  • Use hyphens in most compound or double-barrelled personal names Anne-Marie, Baden-Powell.
  • Use in compound names that describe single entities, such as companies eg Rolls-Royce and some place names, eg Weston-Super-Mare.
  • Hyphens are sometimes used in place names with prepositions, eg Kingston-upon-Thames but do check each individual place name.


  • Use hyphens in spelt-out numbers, eg Twenty-one students took part in the project.