World Class or World-Class?

The hyphenated term world-class appears directly before the noun it modifies. E.g., “Apple is a world-class company.” Furthermore, world class as two words is also a correct spelling, but the noun does not come directly after it. E.g., “Our customer service is world class.”

Although you can spell the term world-class with or without a hyphen, it appears in the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries with a hyphen.

However, if you are writing in AP Style, you should use the hyphen only when the noun comes directly after world-class.

Like in this example where the noun competition comes directly after world-class.

  • It is a world-class competition, so competitors must be at their best.

In contrast, if we move the word competition, so it comes before world-class, we must remove the hyphen.

  • The competition is world class, so competitors must be at their best.

Despite this rule, there is a trend where people use a hyphen for both versions, and it has become more popular globally, as shown in this Google Ngram. This trend is the same for the UK and the US, and the hyphenated version is the more common of the two.

Therefore, if you are not following a particular style guide, you can use the hyphenated for both purposes.

Furthermore, this Ngram shows that some people spell the word worldclass as one word, although this is incorrect, and the word does not appear in dictionaries in this form.

If you’re still in doubt about when to use each spelling version, you should read the rest of the article to learn more about how they work.

We’ll show you some helpful examples to understand more about it.

World Class

World class as two words without a hyphen is correct. In this form, it acts as a noun in a similar way to other terms, such as real world.

The term world class refers to something of a high status or quality. When you write the term world class as two words, the thing that it modifies always comes before the term world class.

Here are some great example sentences to show you what we mean:

  • The manufacturing processes required to build this car are world class.
  • The techniques they used in that project are considered world class.
  • The commitment of the team to delivering results is world class.
  • After experiencing their service, I can confidently say it’s world class.

Alternatively, the thing world class refers to is not necessarily present in the sentence. In this case, you should not use a hyphen.

  • Person A: How was your vacation?
  • Person B: It was world class.

Next, let’s have a closer look at the rules concerning the hyphenated version, world-class.


World-class with a hyphen is the correct way to write the compound adjective. Although people often use it for both the adjective and noun versions.

However, for AP Style, you should only use the hyphenated version when the noun appears directly after the term world-class.

For example, in this sentence, the word resort is the noun that world-class modifies, so we need to use a hyphen.

  • We stayed in a world-class resort in Hawaii.

As mentioned, people nowadays often use the hyphenated version for all forms of world-class. Doing this is acceptable if you are not following a specific style guide. However, you must be consistent throughout any piece of writing and use the same version.

  • The resort we stayed in was world-class.

Here are some more examples where we’ve used world-class in the sentences:

  • She trained at a world-class dance academy in New York.
  • The athletes competing in the Olympics are of world-class caliber.
  • I just had a world-class meal at that new restaurant downtown.

Lastly, let’s have a look at the one-word version, worldclass.


The term worldclass as one word is incorrect, and you should not use it in your writing.

If you want to adhere to the grammar rules, you should use world-class directly before a noun and world class after the noun.

You can review these example sentences to get a better idea of the concept:

  • Correct: He is a world-class player, which is why every team wants to buy him.
  • Incorrect: He is a worldclass player, which is why every team wants to buy him.
  • Correct: The performance was worth every dollar because it was world class.
  • Incorrect: The performance was worth every dollar because it was worldclass.
  • Correct: The museum hosts a collection of world-class artifacts from various civilizations.
  • Incorrect: The museum hosts a collection of worldclass artifacts from various civilizations.
  • Correct: The spa offered world-class treatments, ensuring all guests felt pampered.
  • Incorrect: The spa offered worldclass treatments, ensuring all guests felt pampered.

That’s all we have for you today. Feel free to come back if you need to refresh the rules!