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Thread: World-building, world building, or worldbuilding?

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  1. #1
    I write CathleenT's Avatar
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    World-building, world building, or worldbuilding?

    There doesn't seem to be much consensus here.

    Wikipedia uses "worldbuilding": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldbuilding, as does Reedsy.

    Merriam-Webster hyphenates: https://www.merriam-webster.com/word...world-building

    And lots of other random sites use two words.

    Is there a definitive form? If not, what form do you prefer? I like hyphenating, personally.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Cindyt's Avatar
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    World-building, world building, or worldbuilding

    I think it's a matter of choice. Grammarly accepts all three.
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  3. #3
    People are not wearing enough hats JJ Litke's Avatar
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    I like hyphenating it: world-building.

    Spellcheck in InDesign flags one word as misspelled and suggests two words. It doesn't suggest hyphenating it, but it also doesn't flag the hyphenated version as misspelled. For what all of that is worth.

    I went through a similar thing the other day with douchenozzle, which, oddly, no one seems to hyphenate, it's either one or two words.
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  4. #4
    illiterate primate Bing Z's Avatar
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    I also use Merriam-Webster as my primary dictionary. My self-imposed guideline is that if there is an entry in Merriam-Webster, I use its format/style. If it doesn't have it, I check Oxford. Still no, I follow Wikipedia/Wikidictionary.

    In this specific case, I would use "world-building" both because it's in the MW and also because it looks more natural. But if you are after a 'geek' feel, you may want 'worldbuilding.'

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    I've always used worldbuilding. Idk if it depends on compound adjective or not. "The worldbuilding elements" makes more sense to me than "the world building elements" but it's the same in verb form -- the elements of worlbuilding as opposed to the elements of world building. A hyphen works well either way. I'm rambling, but regardless, I wouldn't use two words.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW rgroberts's Avatar
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    I like it as one word, too. It seems to fit better to me, although I wouldn't fault anyone for using either of the other versions.

  7. #7
    Home Again--For Now AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Any time there's no agreement on which form of a compound word is accepted, you have choices.
    • Pick your favorite and use it consistently in your ms. Publishers may ask you to change it, but it won't be considered a mistake.
    • Pick a favorite authority and use its recommendation, knowing that many publishers defer to Merriam-Webster, or
    • Choose the one easiest to find in a find-and-replace without hitting false positives, so you can easily make it conform to a future publisher's style.

    Myself, I like the hyphenated version.
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  8. #8
    Seashell Seller Layla Nahar's Avatar
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    One thing about this term - I have always thought of it exclusively as what the writer presents to the reader in the text - and that all the stuff we might do outside of the text is - whatever it is, practice, rough-draft, imagining. But 'world building' for me is what we give the reader so that s/he can immerse in the setting to the degree necessary for the story.
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