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Which one is correct:

  1. He's really easy-going.

OR

  1. He's really easy going.

As per my understanding, hyphen comes between compound adjectives if they are before noun; so the correct one is second one. But as per BBC website correct one is first one with hyphen.

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Hyphens often disappear over time as compound adjectives become more established phrases, so it's no surprise that the hyphen in easy going is disappearing in some places.

The Ngram for this is pretty nifty; as the two-word phrase rose in popularity, authors began to dispense with the hyphen, either by replacing it with a space, or using a single-word term:

enter image description here Fact is, you can find both versions in published works, so there's no definitive answer. Neither would be considered incorrect. In fact, some dictionaries (like M-W) show it as a compound word (easygoing), while other dictionaries (like Collins) retain the hyphen (easy-going). Also, one dictionary (WordWeb) lists one form as a noun (with the space) and the other as an adjective (as one word).

  • Thanks J.R but does grammar rules allow hyphen between compound adjectives if they appear after noun? There is no noun after easy going, so it should not be hyphenated. Right? – m903 Jun 27 '15 at 10:05
  • Again, I can find it in books both ways: (a) "most of the time he is easy going and easy to get along with." (b) "He is easy-going and she is excitable." – J.R. Jun 27 '15 at 10:26

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