In person or in-person – learn the difference

It may seem that a hyphen is a small, unimportant thing, but when faced with the choice of using in person or in-person, it really does make a difference. Find out how to distinguish between the two and when to use which.

in person or in-person? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

In person or in-person? Meaning

Both in person and in-person refer to the same thing, namely an action that’s carried out “personally”, “yourself”, “face to face”, “ in the flesh” – as opposed to “on-line” or in any other indirect way.

In person or in-person? What’s the difference?

The difference in spelling reflects the fact that this word combination may appear as two distinct parts of speech. Without the hyphen, in person is an adverb, and can therefore be used to describe the manner of doing something (i.e. verbs) in the following way: “to show up in person”, “to speak to someone in person”, “to see something in person”, etc.

In person or in-person – still not sure? Some more tips & examples

If you and me, dear reader, had a chance to meet, I could teach you about these differences face to face – in person. However, I’m conveying this knowledge to you indirectly by writing it, so you could say that this text is not an in-person lesson, but rather an on-line, written one.

Last but not least, let’s look at some quotes:

It would have been so much easier to get bad news over the phone than in person.

Sara Saedi, Americanized, 2018

“I got an email from one of the jobs I applied for. I have an in-person interview next week. Guess I should go ahead and shave.”

Janae Marks – A Soft Place to Land, 2021

Martin was 15 minutes early for his in-person appearance, and not a moment too soon.

Seattle Times, July 22, 2011

Written by

She is a translator and EFL teacher with an MA in English studies, who dabbles in writing, subtitling and academic proofreading. When not pondering the complexities of linguistic correctness, she enjoys DIY, cycling and playing any type of guitar she can lay her hands on.