Startup Tools · · 1 min read

Startup or Start-up: Which Is Correct?

Both "startup" and "start-up" are technically correct, but "startup" is becoming the preferred spelling, especially in the business and technology sectors.

If you're writing about new businesses or the tech world, you've probably wondered about the correct spelling: Is it "startup" or "start-up"? Let's clear up this common confusion.

The Short Answer

Both "startup" and "start-up" are technically correct, but "startup" is becoming the preferred spelling, especially in the business and technology sectors.

The Evolution of the Term

  1. Historical Use: Traditionally, "start-up" was the original form, used as a noun to describe a new business venture.
  2. Modern Trend: Over time, particularly with the rise of the tech industry, "startup" has become more common and widely accepted.
  3. Current Preference: Today, "startup" is generally favored, especially in American English and in the tech industry.

When to Use Each Spelling

  • "Startup": Use this spelling for most contexts, especially in business writing, tech articles, or when discussing the startup ecosystem.
  • "Start-up": This spelling is still acceptable, particularly in more formal or traditional writing. It's also more common in British English.

What About Other Forms?

  • Verb Form: When using it as a verb, it's typically written as two words: "to start up" Example: "We plan to start up our business next month."
  • Adjective: As an adjective, you might see both "startup company" and "start-up company"

Style Guide Recommendations

  • AP Style: Prefers "startup" as a noun and adjective
  • Chicago Manual of Style: Accepts both, but "startup" is more common

Why the Shift to "Startup"?

The move towards "startup" reflects the dynamic nature of language, especially in fast-moving fields like technology. It's shorter, snappier, and aligns with the quick, innovative image that many new companies want to project.

The Bottom Line

While both spellings are correct, "startup" is becoming the standard, especially in tech and business writing. When in doubt, consider your audience and the context. In most cases, especially if you're writing about the tech industry, "startup" is your best bet.

Remember, language evolves, and what's considered correct can change over time. Stay aware of current trends in your field to ensure your writing feels up-to-date and professional.

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