In Person or In-person: Which is Correct?

In Person or In-person: Which is Correct?

The phrases 'in-person' and 'in person' are similar yet distinct, used to convey different concepts: 'in-person' describes events or activities requiring physical presence, while 'in person' refers to direct, face-to-face interaction or communication.

This indicates that both 'in-person' and 'in person' are correct; however, their usage varies depending on context and sentence structure.

In this post, we'll check out the differences between in-person and in person, so you can quickly learn how to use each one depending on your needs.

Should You Write In-Person or In Person?

The choice between "in-person" and "in person" depends on the context, as they have distinct meanings.

This means that both are correct, but the appropriate choice depends on the sentence's overall meaning, as illustrated in the Dictionary of Cambridge:

  • In-Person: "In-person" is an adjectival phrase used to describe activities or events that occur face-to-face, with physical presence or direct interaction.
  • In Person: "In person" is an adverbial phrase indicating physical presence or direct interaction with someone or something.

Differences Between In-Person and In Person

Now that we've established that both 'in-person' and 'in person' are correct yet have distinct meanings, let's examine some specific differences between these two phrases to consider before using them:

1. Usage:

  • In-Person: Used as an adjective to describe events, meetings, or activities that involve physical presence or direct interaction.
  • In Person: Used as an adverbial phrase indicating physical presence or direct interaction with someone or something.

2. Hyphenation:

  • In-Person: The hyphenated form is used when the phrase is functioning as an adjective.
  • In Person: There is no hyphen when "in person" is used as an adverbial phrase.

3. Function:

  • In-Person: Describes the nature of an event or activity, emphasizing the requirement of physical attendance.
  • In Person: Emphasizes the mode of interaction, indicating face-to-face communication or presence.

4. Grammar Usage:

  • In-Person: Often used to modify nouns, emphasizing the tangible and physical aspect of an activity.
  • In Person: Used to modify verbs, indicating the manner in which an action is performed.

How to Use In Person & Sentence Examples

As mentioned before, "in person" is an adverbial phrase, which means that it's mainly used to indicate physical presence or direct interaction with someone or something.

These are some scenarios it makes sense to use the term "in person:"

  1. Direct Interaction: Use "in person" when engaging in communication or activities directly with someone, emphasizing a personal and immediate connection.
  2. Physical Presence: "In person" is also used when you are in the same location or space as someone or something, emphasizing actual, tangible existence in a particular place.
  3. Face-to-Face Communication: Use "in person" if direct communication occurs when people are physically present in the same location.
  4. Attending an Event: This expression denotes being present at a specific occasion or gathering, showcasing the act of physically going to and participating in a particular event.

Some sentence examples are the following:

  • The boss addressed the concerns of the employees in person, fostering open communication.
  • It's always better to resolve conflicts in person to ensure a clearer understanding.
  • Although we communicate online, meeting in person strengthens our professional relationships.
  • The candidate impressed the hiring manager more in person than on paper.
  • To truly appreciate the artwork, visit the gallery in person and experience its beauty for yourself.

How to Use In-Person & Sentence Examples

"In-person" is an adjectival phrase used to describe events or activities that occur face-to-face, and these are some scenarios where it can be used:

  1. Modifying Nouns: 'In-person' modifies nouns to provide additional details about their nature. It implies that the event involves face-to-face participation, rather than being virtual or remote.
  2. Describe Events: Using "in-person" to describe events signifies that the event or gathering necessitates physical attendance or direct participation.
  3. Specify Activities: When "in-person" is used to specify activities, it indicates that the mentioned activity requires individuals to be physically present.
  4. Highlight Direct Interaction: "In-person" highlights direct interaction, emphasizing that the communication or engagement occurs face-to-face.

These are some examples of how to use "in-person" in a sentence:

  • We're having an in-person team meeting tomorrow.
  • Let's schedule an in-person catch-up over coffee.
  • I prefer in-person classes over virtual ones.
  • We prefer in-person interviews for hiring.
  • We'll go to an in-person gathering on Saturday.

Summary: Should You Write In-Person or In Person?

Both "in-person" and "in person" are correct, and the choice between these phrases depends on the context and the intended grammatical role. Before using any of these phrases, consider the following three key takeaways:

  • Choose 'in-person' to describe events or activities involving direct, face-to-face interaction. This hyphenated form, used to modify nouns, emphasizes the aspect of physical presence.
  • Opt for "in person" when you want to convey the idea of being physically present or directly interacting with someone or something. This unhyphenated form is used as an adverbial phrase, modifying verbs.
  • To decide between the two, consider the grammatical role: if modifying a noun, use "in-person"; if modifying a verb, use "in person." Maintaining consistency in your choice helps ensure clarity and adherence to standard language conventions.